Jury fails to reach murder verdict
For the second time, a Garland County Circuit Court jury was unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of a local man accused in a 2017 shooting death outside Behind the Mall Cinema, but did convict him on other felony charges.
The sevenwoman, five-man jury deliberated for almost five hours Wednesday following a two-day trial but was unable to unanimously find Dylan Wayne Carpenter, 22, guilty of second-degree murder, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, for the Jan. 15, 2017, death of Quadryon Gipson, 20, of Hot Springs.
However, the jury returned guilty verdicts on the more serious charge of committing a terroristic act, punishable by up to life in prison, and the lesser charge of first-degree battery, punishable
by up to 20 years, and after deliberating for less than 30 minutes late Wednesday recommended a sentence of 10 years on each count, to run concurrently.
Garland County Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Lawrence said she had not decided yet Thursday whether to try the homicide charge again, noting, “We have to consider that we have spent the money to try it twice now with the same result. We have to go back to the drawing board and look at all the evidence again.”
Carpenter was previously tried on the same charges June 27 and 28 this year and the jury deadlocked on all the charges, forcing a mistrial, but this time they found him guilty on the other charges, including the terroristic act charge “which is a class Y felony. The most serious one,” she said.
Lawrence said she has to consider the time involved and expense of paying the witnesses and jurors and court personnel to have another trial and “weigh all the sides” before deciding.
She stressed that no decision would be made without talking with Gipson’s mother, but “we have to consider if we believe we would get a different result if we tried it again.” She said it was “a novel case” since it involved a drug deal with Carpenter claiming he was defending himself.
Carpenter admitted to Hot Springs police and has testified he shot Gipson when it became clear Gipson planned on robbing him instead of purchasing drugs from him when they met for the exchange in the parking lot of the theater at 4501 Central Ave.
Carpenter has also admitted to shooting Malik Deon Blevins, 22, of Mountain Pine, who had accompanied Gipson to the scene, in the knee. On May 8, Blevins pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison and to manslaughter for Gipson’s death and was sentenced to 10 years, with the sentences to run concurrently.
A third alleged accomplice, Mochariee Kewanna West, 23, who was also reportedly with Gipson and Blevins, is charged with aggravated robbery and manslaughter with a pretrial hearing set for Dec. 31.
Blevins testified at both of Carpenter’s trials, admitting he and Gipson had planned to rob Carpenter and Gipson was armed with a BB gun when they confronted Carpenter.
According to the affidavit, Carpenter told police he had walked over to the black Ford Explorer where Blevins was sitting in the back seat. As he was talking with Blevins and Gipson an altercation occurred during which Carpenter pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot Gipson, who later died, and then fired a shot into the vehicle, hitting Blevins.
Carpenter fled the scene, but later turned himself in to police. He was released on $150,000 bond on March
17, 2017, and had pleaded not guilty to the charges on April
Blevins was arrested Feb.
10, 2017, and told police he and Gipson went to the theater with West to purchase narcotics from Carpenter and planned to rob him. Search warrants were later obtained for cellphones belonging to Blevins and Gipson and text messages between the three were located on each phone that spoke about the plan to meet with Carpenter.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Joe Graham and Deputy Prosecutors Shana Alexander and Casey Richmond represented the state while attorneys Bill James and Megan Wilson of Little Rock represented Carpenter with Judge John Homer Wright presiding.