Charge is dropped in killing
Witness’s recall faulty in ’16 case
Prosecutors have dropped a manslaughter charge against a 60-yearold Little Rock woman accused of fatally shooting her 40-year-old boyfriend during a July 2016 argument after the only eyewitness — the woman’s ex-husband — said he now can’t remember what happened.
Gloria Tate was arrested after Little Rock police were called to her Blackwood Road home about a shooting and found Johnny Lee Winfield Jr. dead from a gunshot wound in the chest in a bedroom of the residence.
Asked about the location of the gun used, Raguel Lavonda, 68, Tate’s ex-husband who was living with her in the home, directed investigators to the trunk of his silver 2015 Nissan Altima parked at the residence.
Lavonda told police that Tate had the keys to the vehicle, but she denied it, saying Winfield had taken them from her during their altercation. The key fob was later found in her underwear, court records show.
The rifle was found in a case wrapped in a bedsheet in the trunk.
Tate was charged with reckless manslaughter, in
part based on Lavonda’s statement to police. Prosecutors dropped the charge last week after Lavonda said he couldn’t remember what happened.
After her arrest, Tate told police that Winfield had been physically abusing her for some time over the course of the day — hitting, slapping and pulling her hair.
She said they had gone to a Fourth of July barbecue that day, where Winfield continued to accost her. When they returned to her house, she said, Winfield resumed threatening her.
Tate told police that she grabbed a rifle that was in the living room and shot at Winfield, who was in another room. She saw Winfield run
into the bedroom, she said, and when she followed, she saw him on the floor, then called 911, according to a police report.
Court records show that Tate had a temporary order of protection against Winfield when he was killed.
She got the court order about two weeks before the slaying, reporting that he had accosted her at a house she owns at 3317 W. 10th St., choked her and pulled her hair while claiming that he would love her forever.
Shortly after Winfield moved in with her in May 2016, Tate got another temporary protection order against him, describing an incident in which he showed up at the home and banged on the doors and windows, threatening to kill her and burn the house down if she did not let
Court records show Tate did not show up for a subsequent court hearing that could have extended the order for up to 10 years.
Winfield was never charged with any crime based on Tate’s accusations. Records show the pair were living apart when Winfield was killed.
She reported that they started dating in September 2015, which would be about the time court records show Winfield, a father of 10, was released from federal prison stemming from a 2011 conviction for possession of counterfeit checks.
Court records show Winfield also had convictions for drug dealing, but the only violent charge, a Class B felony battery arrest from 2006, was dropped by prosecutors.