Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Arrest Made in Williams' Murder; One on the Lamb

It has been reported that one-half of the "shoot 'em up" duo has been arrested. Mr. Lakeithon Deon Moody submitted himself to arrest late yesterday by walking into the police department. We have reported that the Helena-West Helena Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have active warrants for the arrest of Moody and Mr. Eugene Starr, Jr. in connection with the murder of Mr. Deven Williams, 22, on Monday, July 25, 2011.

The Williams murder occurred in the 500 block of West Cleburne Street near where it intersects with South Baringo Street. Mr. Williams' 1997 Grand Marquis LS was sprayed with gunshots and two of the many shots appear to have gone through the trunk of the car and entered Mr. Williams' back and exited his chest causing his death. Earnest Larry, Phillips County Coroner, pronounced Mr. Williams dead and ordered that his body be sent to the crime lab for a determination of the cause of the death.

It should surprise no one that Mr. Moody and Mr. Starr are suspects for a violent crime. They both have extensive criminal backgrounds. Since 2006, Moody has been booked for Carrying a Weapon, Murder in the 1st Degree, Battery in 3rd Degree, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, DWI, Possession of Loaded Center Fire-Weapons and a host of drug charges to name a few. Moody, born in 1986, is only 25 years old. Starr has been booked, since 2000, for Battery in the 1st Degree, Illegal Possession of Firearms, Burglary and Parole Violations. Starr, born in 1980, is only 31 years old and is generally mild mannered.

Starr remains on the lamb. Police are actively seeking information on Mr. Starr's whereabouts in order to quietly perfect an arrest and bring him to justice. Police have stated that hindering Mr. Starr's apprehension is a felony under Arkansas law and could land anyone harboring Starr in jail alongside of him and Moody.

Under our criminal justice system, Starr and Moody are presumed innocent. They will be entitled to a "Rule 8" hearing soon after arrest. That hearing is where the judge considers bail and informs them of their legal rights in a general way. Because the crime involved in this particular incident is Capital Murder, no bail is available under Arkansas law. These gentlemen will likely be held until there is either a trial or a dismissal of the charges.

The prosecutor will receive the police department's file from the Phillips County Sheriff's office. If the prosecutor decides to proceed with a case against the young men, then he will file an information in the Circuit Court. Soon after the "Rule 8" hearing and the filing of the information, the defendants will be brought before Judge L. T. Simes or Judge Richard Proctor for an arraignment where they will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. Depending upon their plea, the case will be set to proceed to a trial.

Major Ronald Scott, Assistant Chief of Police for the Helena-West Helena Police Department since February 2007, reported to the city council last night that the department is "doing all it can" to reduce these incidents of senseless violence in our community.

It has been reported that Police Chief, Ray Price, spent the day yesterday out-of-town looking for new police department uniforms. During his tenure, the new police chief has added a number of signs to the police department parking lot and repainted stripes on the department's parking lot.

Mayor Arnell Willis has been mum on the issue of crime. He did report that his August 1st deadline for hiring a police chief has been pushed back to September or later. He is actively "interviewing candidates." When pressed by city council members for the names of candidates interviewed or who had applied for the position, the mayor simply responded "I don't know."

In a recent report published by Home Surfer, Helena-West Helena was reported as the worst place in Arkansas to live because of violent crime.Home Surfer reports that "0% of cities in Arkansas have crime rates higher than Helena-West Helena." The Inside Scoop Online has NOT verified Home Surfer's methodology used to reach this conclusion.

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