Jacksonville man, 21, accepts 25-year prison sentence for 2014 slaying
A 21-year-old Jacksonville man has accepted a 25-year prison sentence on reduced charges for the 2014 killing of a North Little Rock man after the prosecution’s only eyewitness to the slaying, already twice convicted of robbery, picked up robbery and burglary charges.
Robert Chandler Harris shot and killed 28-year-old Michael Cook in July 2014, less than a week before Harris’ 18th birthday.
Cook was found, fatally wounded, in the Neal Place area near the intersection of Campbell Road and Whippoorwill Lane.
Police said Harris killed the father of two while stealing his cellphone. Harris was charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery.
On Monday, Harris pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with prosecutors dropping the robbery charge as part of a plea agreement.
Arrested the day after Cook was killed, Harris initially denied knowing him but later acknowledged he was with Cook when the older man was shot. But Harris named another teenager, Johnathan Deshawn Turner, as the killer, police said.
Turner, now 20, had already told detectives that he had seen Harris shoot Cook.
Turner first said he didn’t know who the gunman was, only describing him as a man with dreadlocks. Pressed by detectives about inconsistencies in his description of how Cook was killed, Turner became emotional and told police that Harris was the gunman.
Turner told police that he, Harris and Robert Bland had been sitting in Bland’s car parked at Bland’s house on Whippoorwill Lane, drinking and listening to music while Harris was showing off a gun. Cook joined them in the car, looking for a ride.
The older man asked to hold the gun, and at first acted like he was not going to return it, police said.
The four then got out of the car, with Bland going into his home.
Turner told police that Harris said he was going to take Cook’s cellphone. Turner said he saw Harris make Cook empty his pockets before shooting him.
Cook ran, and Turner and Harris took off in the other direction, Turner told police.
But Harris stopped and turned to fire more shots at the fleeing Cook, Turner said.
Less than two weeks after Harris was arrested, Turner was charged with aggravated robbery for stealing a cellphone from a teenager in a holdup that occurred in May 2014. The victim, Dionte Smittie, had been hit in the head and knocked to the ground by two assailants he didn’t know as he walked in the 500 block of West 55th Street in North Little Rock, according to police records.
Turner was identified as one of the robbers after Smittie was robbed again in July 2014, about two weeks before Cook was killed.
In that holdup in the area of Velvet Ridge and Summertree streets in North Little Rock, Smittie and two other teens, Taron Oliver and Kanavion Johnson, said they’d been accosted by two gunmen who demanded money and marijuana. The three were able to flee when the robbers were distracted by a car driving by.
Turner subsequently pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery in exchange for incarceration in a state youth-services program to be followed by five years on probation.
But he has been arrested twice more on felony charges, with his trial set for next month:
Residential burglary over accusations that he and an older man broke into the Lynn Lane home of Jeffrey Foster of North Little Rock in April 2016 and stole electronic equipment. Turner’s co-defendant, 24-yearold Roderick Anthony Walker of North Little Rock, pleaded guilty to the charge in January and was sentenced to pay $3,000 restitution and a $500 fine as a condition of serving five years on probation.
Aggravated robbery in connection with the February 2017 armed robbery of the Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant on East Broadway in Little Rock. His co-defendant, Anthony Nelson, 17, of North Little Rock, pleaded guilty to robbery and theft in June in exchange for incarceration in a youth-services program on the condition that he testifies against Turner.