Prosecutor: Still time to try murder suspect
FAYETTEVILLE — Washington County prosecutors said Monday they haven’t taken too long to try Jimmy Lee Hancock, who is charged with murder, and he shouldn’t be released from jail.
Police found the body of Anthony Dell Jackson, 58, under a pavilion at Walker Park, 10 W. 15th St., about 11:15 p.m. Aug. 31, 2015, according to a preliminary police report. Jackson was stabbed in the neck and head.
Hancock, 50, was found near a knife and Jackson’s body, according to the police report. Hancock appeared to have blood on him.
Hancock was arrested the same night and booked the next day into the Washington County Jail.
He pleaded not guilty Oct. 2, 2015, to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and terroristic threatening. First-degree murder is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
The case has been continued at least eight times. Delays have included waiting for evidence reports from the Arkansas State Crime Lab and when Hancock changed lawyers.
The case is set for trial Aug. 16 before Washington County Circuit Judge Joanna Taylor.
Autumn Tolbert filed motions Friday saying Hancock has been in jail since his arrest and the case should be dismissed for failure to comply with speedy trial rules.
Prosecutors have a year to bring a person to trial but any delays in a case are charged to the side responsible for them.
Chreea Booher, deputy prosecutor, filed a response Monday saying the time will not have run by the date Hancock’s trial is set to begin.
“As of Aug. 16, 2017, the amount of time that has been charged to the state is 357 days and, therefore, speedy trial has not been violated and the defendant is not entitled to be released for a violation of such,” according to the response.
Hancock is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Jackson and Hancock were homeless, police said.
A witness told police Hancock had been involved in an assault and threatening incident before the killing happened.
The witness also told police Hancock held a knife to his chest because he refused to drink with Hancock. The witness described a knife similar to what was recovered near Jackson, according to police.
The witness told police he saw Jackson and Hancock together before a police officer arrived on patrol.
Hancock told police he was at the pavilion with Jackson and the witness, but he didn’t remember how Jackson died. Hancock also told police he didn’t assault the witness.