Jury fails to reach mur­der ver­dict

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - STEVEN MROSS

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

3, 2017.

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.


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