Altus man faces trial in murder
OZARK — An Altus man has been ordered to stand trial Aug. 1 on a charge of firstdegree murder in the Jan. 31 shooting death of 44-year-old Dena Hancock of Ozark.
Jason Eugene Houston, 37, was on Thursday’s arraignment docket in Franklin County Circuit Court but did not appear in court. Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons said Houston entered an innocent plea in a hearing before Judge William Pearson on Feb. 9.
The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Houston, Gibbons said.
His bond was set at $1 million.
Hancock was found dead from a single gunshot wound in her home off Arkansas 219 near Ozark, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Circuit Court. Houston confessed to the slaying, according to the affidavit.
Houston was staying in Hancock’s home, and they argued before her death, Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen said.
On Jan. 31, Hancock called friends, saying she was frightened and wanted them to come to her residence, according to the affidavit. Witnesses saw Houston leaving the house and found Hancock dead inside.
Houston was arrested that night by police in Van Buren after he rammed his vehicle into an Arkansas State Police trooper’s cruiser.
Houston pleaded innocent last week in Crawford County Circuit Court to one count of attempted capital murder and one of felony criminal mischief in connection with the ramming.