Entries in Arkansas (37)


Arkansas Couple Wins Lottery Twice in One Weekend

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery(NEW YORK) -- An Arkansas couple struck gold twice after winning $1 million and $50,000 jackpots, both of them during this past weekend.

Stephen, 54, and Terri Weaver, 55, of Stuttgart, Ark., left on Friday for a weekend trip to a cabin near Greers Ferry Lake, over 100 miles away.  On Saturday evening, they stopped at T-Ricks convenience store in the nearby city of Pangburn.  Stephen bought five $1 Million Riches instant scratch-off tickets while his wife bought four.

“We pick up a couple of tickets on the weekend when we go to our cabin on the river,” said Terri, an office manager with a water company.  “It’s a weekly thing.  We just pick up a few here and a few there.”

Once they brought the tickets to the cabin, they realized one of Stephen’s $20 tickets won the $1 million jackpot.

“I almost had a heart attack,” said Stephen, who owns a plumbing company.  “I had to have an aspirin.”

On Sunday, they stopped at the convenience store again and bought six tickets “just for the heck of it because it was fun,” Terri explained.

This time, Terri’s Taxes Paid instant ticket for which she paid $10 was a $50,000 winner.

“When she handed it to me, I fell back in my chair and almost went into cardiac arrest again,” Stephen said of the second ticket.  "We jumped around, hollered, and screamed.  It’s just not possible that it happened twice.  The odds must be astronomical.”

The couple, who have been married for 35 years and have a son in Tulsa, Okla., said they will continue to work in their respective jobs and pay off some bills.

“We’re going to put it in a little, or big, nest egg,” Stephen said.

The owner of the convenience store gets 1 percent of the winnings.  

"He’s pretty happy too,” Stephen said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chavis Carter Death: Arkansas Police Release Dashcam

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Jonesboro, Ark., police released 41 minutes of dash cam video as questions continue to swirl about how someone in police custody could shoot and kill himself in the back of a cop car after being searched twice and handcuffed.

In the video, 21-year-old Chavis Carter can be seen being restrained and you can hear him being questioned by police officers, but the video appears to end before the fatal shot was fired.

The release of the dash cam video comes after Jonesboro police released a video this week of officers re-enacting how someone could commit suicide while restrained and in the back of a cop car. Also included in the release were witness statements that back up the police account.

In a statement Jonesboro police say "given the heightened sensitivity regarding this investigation, we felt it important that these witness accounts be made public."

The family of Carter, an African-American, and many in the town speculate that Carter may have been killed by police. The two officers who pulled over the vehicle were white. The case has led to a rise of tensions in Jonesboro, vigils and an online effort calling for a more thorough investigation into the actions of police on the night of July 29.

Police say Carter was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car after they learned he had a warrant out of Mississippi. Police say when they first pulled up to the car that he was in, the other two inside gave their identities but Carter identified himself as Laryan Bowman.

But in the dash cam video police released you can hear Carter spelling his name. Police say Carter was found with a small amount of marijuana and some small plastic bags commonly used to package drugs in his pocket.

Police say they then put Carter in the back of a police car as they interviewed the other two, both white, who were with him. Although police found drug paraphernalia underneath the seat where one of the two was sitting both were released. In the video you can see them drive off. Police say when they returned to their vehicles to leave with Carter in custody they noticed him slumped over and that he shot himself with a gun that he had concealed. The video appears to end before this account occurs.

One of the witnesses, Jamie Anderson told officers she noticed the pickup truck driving around suspiciously and saw when police stopped the vehicle. She said she saw police officers separate Carter from others and 15 minutes after she heard a loud pop.

Anderson told an officer the police car windows that Chavis was in were closed and that the officers "were standing outside of the car when I heard a pop." When asked about news accounts and the belief by some that police killed Carter, Anderson shook her head in disapproval, and said she did not believe that.

Another witness, Jason Parmenter, was at a friend's house playing cards when he says they got a call from Anderson saying that she saw a white pickup car driving around suspiciously and parked in front of her house. Parmenter says his friend called police and he watched as officers arrived on scene and as the three were initially placed in handcuffs. Later, he says he watched as someone in a plain car drove up and talked to officers while Chavis was in the cop car. He says when that person drove away he later watched officers scurrying back and forth between their cars.

Carter suffered a gunshot wound to the right temple. Police said "a small .380 caliber cobra semi-auto firearm was discovered, as well as an expended case, and a projectile (which was recovered in the rear of the vehicle). This evidence was packaged and has been sent to the state crime lab. The firearm had previously been reported stolen by a resident in Jonesboro ( June 2012)."

In a statement to ABC News provided just before the release of the video Benjamin Irwin, the attorney for Carter's mom continued to doubt the police account.

"How is it that a trained officer of the law can search a young man not just once, but twice, handcuff him, place in the back of your squad car and if he had a handgun not detect it. They are either completely incompetent or they are not being completely truthful about what truly happened." They also say that Carter was not suicidal.

Police say they are still awaiting the complete autopsy report as well as forensics. The FBI is also monitoring the case.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Video of Fatal Officer Shooting Used as Learning Tool

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TRUMANN, Ark.) -- In life, Officer Jonathan Schmidt was a respected member of the Trumann police force in Arkansas. However, one year after his death, he may be its greatest instructor.

Schmidt was shot to death during a seemingly routine traffic stop on the evening of April 12, 2011.

The 20-minute video of the stop, captured on a dashboard camera, will be used to teach police recruits and also make changes to existing procedures, said Chad Henson, police chief of the Trumann Police Department.

That begins with banishing the word "routine."

"The verbiage of using routine has to be taken out of all law enforcement's mouth," Henson said. "It could be grandma needs direction to church or a murderer in the backseat who hasn't unveiled himself."

Henson said he plans to conduct training, which is often done in daylight, at night and in other variable conditions, to help officers be prepared.

Police officers already on the force will receive ongoing training, Henson said.

The scene on the dash-camera video would likely look familiar to most officers before it took a turn for the worst.

Schmidt, who had been an officer for four years, pulled over a vehicle after a license plate check showed it may not have insurance.

After he handcuffed the driver of the car outside the vehicle on an outstanding warrant, Schmidt asked the man sitting in the back seat of the pulled-over car his name.

Moments later, Henson said, the dispatcher told him the man in the backseat, Jerry Lard, was wanted on a felony warrant.

"When he went to retrieve him, Officer Schmidt opened the door with his weapon hand and instantly [Lard] shot him in the face," Henson said.

Lard exited the pulled-over car and kept firing at Schmidt and Officer Corey Overstreet.

"What you got?" Lard can be heard yelling on the video as he continued to shoot at the officers.

Henson said the video "raises hundreds of questions" that his department, and hopefully others, will address.

"Officer Schmidt was carrying a very heavy flashlight and he switched it from hand to hand. We are going to give these guys a lighter flashlight to keep in their non weapon hand," he said.

Schmidt dropped his gun after he was shot through his weapon hand, Henson said, underscoring the need to equip officers with back-up weapons.

In the final few seconds of a dash-cam video, Officer Schmidt pleaded for the gunman to stop shooting him.

"We've got help coming, buddy," Overstreet told Schmidt.

Lard, who was wounded in the shootout, was sentenced to death last month following a capital murder conviction.

Eight minutes and 10 seconds of the video were shown to the jury that convicted Lard.

Henson, who trained Schmidt in the police academy and took the police chief job after his death, said he was a top recruit.

"He could have been No. 1 on the state police hiring list or the FBI hiring list," he said. "He was that go-to guy. He was the poster child for a great cop."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police: Arkansas Escaped Inmate's Mother, Brother Helped in Jailbreak

Quincy Vernard Stewart (L) and Cortez Rashod Hooper (R). Miller County Sheriff's Office(TEXARKANA, Ark.) -- An Arkansas inmate who sawed through jail bars and escaped with a friend Monday received help from his mother and brother, who furnished him with a hacksaw and cellphone, according to police.

The mother of Quincy Stewart, Charlene Stewart, 55, was arrested and charged Tuesday with furnishing prohibited articles into a detention facility and furnishing implements of escape, following an investigation that led police to believe she supplied her son with the hacksaw and phone.

Quincy Stewart, 36, and Cortez Hooper, 23, are believed to have used the saw's blades to cut through bars on the jail's windows, and then use a mattress cover to lower themselves to the ground before scaling fences and escaping into the woods.

Quincy Stewart's brother, Edward George Dailey, 34, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with furnishing implements of escape.

"Both of them conspired and did pass on a cellphone and hacksaw blades to Quincy Stewart," Miller County Sheriff's chief deputy Duke Schofield said on Thursday.

Police and the U.S. Marshals Service are still combing the area, following leads and interviewing acquaintances of the two men to try and locate them.  Authorities believe they were picked up by a vehicle near the jail after they escaped and are still in the Texarkana area.

"Anybody found in the company of either one of these two will go to jail," Schofield said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alleged Killers Sought After Jail Break

Miller County Sheriff's Office(MILLER COUNTY, Ark.) -- Two alleged killers who broke out of an Arkansas jail early Monday morning are the subject of a manhunt Tuesday.

Sheriff's officers in Miller County, Ark., are hunting for Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, and Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, who used blades from a hacksaw to saw off three bars of a jail window and escape sometime between 3:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Monday.

The pair rammed through a glass window and used a mattress cover tied to some of the bars to lower themselves closer to the ground before jumping. They then made it through two fences, one topped with razor wire, and crawled under the other before running into the woods, Chief Dep. Duke Schofield.

Hooper was being held on first-degree murder charges and Stewart capital murder, reportedly in another county.

Schofield said that police dogs tracked the scent of the two men through the woods and to the highway, where the dogs lost them and police believe the men were picked up by a vehicle. Jail uniforms were found in the street up the road, with no scent trail around them, leading investigators to speculate that one of the men dropped the uniform out of the vehicle.

Police are combing through addresses and phone numbers of the men's family and friends, including acquaintances they might have known "from past adventures out in the streets," Schofield said.

They are also investigating how the men obtained the hacksaw blades.

"Somebody got the hacksaw blades to them, and we don't know if they were handed off during a transport, or during a court appearance, or what, but there is an internal investigation into that and we think we know. We're just trying to get enough proof," Schofield said.

The men were checked on by police guards at 3:15 a.m., but were discovered missing during the next round of checks at 4:30 a.m., he said.

Police believe they are still in the Texarkana area on the border of Arkansas and Texas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Escaped Inmate on Crime Spree in Arkansas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(POCAHONTAS, Ark.) -- An inmate who escaped from custody four days ago is on a crime spree in Pocahontas, Ark., where police say he stole an officer's gun, threatened the cop's wife and shot his dog.

James Lundry, 39, who was being held on felony charges of improperly using food stamps, escaped from a work detail with other inmates during a lunch break on Friday, stealing a vehicle and heading to Pocahontas, according to Pocahontas Police Chief Cecil Tackett.

Since Friday, police and civilians have had multiple run-ins with Lundry, who has previously been arrested multiple times in Pocahontas on misdemeanor charges.  Lundry is now considered armed and very dangerous, Tackett said.

On Sunday, a caretaker of an abandoned house in the town found Lundry squatting inside, and told police it seemed he had been there for a couple of days.  Police used scent-tracking dogs to follow Lundry's path from a back window to a parked vehicle.  Police believe he entered the vehicle and left, leaving behind stolen items.

Around 11 p.m. Sunday night, Lundry entered the home of a police officer who was on duty elsewhere in the town, and took a .40 caliber Glock pistol, ammunition and a tactical ballistics vest, Tackett said.  He then confronted the officer's wife at the house, and brandished the gun at her before firing three rounds into and killing the couple's pet Pit Bull.

Lundry escaped using a vehicle he had stolen at a local funeral home, police said.

A helicopter with heat-seeking technology and scent dogs on the ground were used Sunday night to track Lundry after he fled the officer's house.  But the helicopter was forced to land after only minutes because of weather problems, Tackett said.

Police are searching abandoned properties and guarding parts of the town in preparation for an expected run-in, Tackett noted.

Lundry is 5'11", weighs 140 pounds, and has multiple tattoos on both of his arms and a teardrop tattoo below his right eye.  Police are searching for a Pontiac Montana minivan that he may be driving.

Lundry now faces a bevy of felony charges from the crime spree, Tackett said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Faces Jail for Making Son Walk to School

Kevin Horan/Stone(JONESBORO, Ark.) -- An Arkansas mother is being charged with a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a minor after she made her son walk 4.6 miles to school in order to “teach him a lesson.”

Valerie Borders, 34, told police her 10-year-old son had been suspended from the bus for a week and she was making him walk to school as punishment.

A bank security guard spotted the boy walking alone in 30-degree weather on Monday and called police.

When the boy spoke to the responding officer, he told him:  “Please don’t take me home. Mother will beat me,” the police report said.

The officer took the boy to his mother’s workplace, only to be told she was on vacation. They found her at home, where she was cited for child endangerment.

“There were a number of things that could have happened to the child,” said Lyle Waterworth, a spokesman for the Jonesboro Police Department. “The child could have been injured, abducted.”

ABC News affiliate KAIT spoke with the boy, who made an impassioned plea on camera to keep his mother out of jail.

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The boy’s mother did not speak on camera.

If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arkansas Grandmother Bomb Plot: Suspect Knew Victims

ABC News(FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.) -- Investigators have learned that the Arkansas man being held on suspicion of strapping what he called a bomb to a 73-year-old grandmother and forcing take money from her account is a longtime acquaintance of the woman's husband.

Betty Davis, 73, walked into the local Arvest Bank in Fayetteville, Ark., around 10:30 a.m. Monday while her husband was tied up and held captive at their home.  She told employees she had an explosive device strapped around her ankle.

Employees at the bank called 911 and police were soon able to remove the device from Davis without incident.

Paul Bradley was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the incident, according to Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor.  Police say Bradley, 60, is a longtime casual acquaintance of Dean Davis; the two met at a local restaurant, Rick's Iron Skillet.

According to investigators, Bradley waited for Dean Davis to leave his home for his morning coffee -- part of the man's daily routine -- before approaching the couple's home.

"The suspect who we know as Mr. Bradley feigned injury to get Mrs. Davis to open her door, and that's how this all begun," Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said.

Bradley was arrested on charges of aggravated robbery, two counts of kidnapping and aggravated burglary, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Fayetteville police.

"I was thinking it was someone I know from the way he talked.  He'd have to know some things about me that I used to raise cattle, and to know when I left the café," Dean Davis said as the couple appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Friday.

Bradley tied up Dean Davis after he returned to the home, according to police.  He then took a weapon from the home and strapped a fake bomb to Betty Davis' leg, drove her to the Arvest bank and demanded she take $10,000 from her account.

Bradley allegedly told Davis that the device was a bomb, and even showed her a detonator.  The bomb squad later determined the device was not an explosive.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dead Blackbirds Fall From Sky Again in Arkansas on New Year's Eve

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEEBE, Ark.) -- Dozens of dead blackbirds have fallen from the sky over a small Arkansas town for the second year in a row.

The fact that the town of Beebe has seen this before, however, doesn't make the deaths of dozens of birds any less odd.

ABC Arkansas affiliate KATV reported that a radar image showed a large mass over Beebe a few hours before midnight Saturday. Then the birds began falling from the sky, just like in 2010.

Emily Nichols, a police dispatcher in Beebe, told ABC Radio that she received multiple calls regarding the birds.

Animal Care and Control was called out about 7 p.m., a few hours earlier than last year, Horace Taylor of Animal Care and Control in Beebe told ABC Radio. 

Taylor said that the Game and Fish Department took about 30 of the nearly 100 birds for testing to try to determine the cause of death.

Fireworks were blamed for the deaths of thousands of blackbirds in 2010, but it's unclear whether fireworks were the cause this time. Police imposed an impromptu ban on fireworks when the birds began falling this year.

Lt. Brian Duke of the Beebe Police Department told ABC that this year wasn't nearly as bad as last year, when the birds covered the streets of Beebe. This year, they were concentrated in a smaller area and the birds were cleaned up quickly. There haven't been any reports of people being hit by a falling bird.

Biologists said last year's kill was caused by birds that were spooked off their roosts by the loud explosions of fireworks and began flying into homes, cars, telephone poles and each other.

Around this same time last year, thousands of dead fish also turned up in the Arkansas River, prompting conspiracies about the end of the world, poison and environmental catastrophe.

Taylor and Duke both agree, though: it's probably just the fireworks in Beebe.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Body Found Near Home of Missing Police Dispatcher Dawna Natzke

Comstock/Thinkstock(HOT SPRINGS, Ark.) -- Authorities found a body Saturday several miles from the Arkansas home of a police emergency dispatcher and mother of three who vanished days before Christmas.

Dawna Natzke of Hot Springs, Ark., was last seen over a week ago when she returned home after attending a friend's Christmas party.

The 46-year-old's live-in boyfriend reportedly told police that she was watching television alone when he went to bed around 11 p.m. It was the last time anyone saw her.

Two days later on Dec. 23 Natzke's son reported his mother missing.

On Christmas Eve day, police were notified that her car, a 1997 Ford Escort, was discovered completely charred in a remote part of Oauchita National Forest. There were no signs of Natzke.

The body was found about 5.5 miles from where Natzke's burned car was found, according to Garland County Sheriff's officials. The body was found by a search group member.

Police wouldn't confirm it was the missing woman's body, but they notified her family of the find.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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