Jacksonville, 15, charged with homicide, faces trial as an adult
A 15-year-old Jacksonville boy seen on video gunning down a man faces first-degree murder charges as an adult, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson ruled Friday.
Terrell Levan Howard was arrested 53 minutes after Timothy Paul Beeles II, 21, was found shot dead in the east parking lot of First Arkansas Bank & Trust at 600 W. Main St. last July.
Video of a bank surveillance played for the judge shows Howard and Beeles in a fistfight until Howard pulls out a gun and shoots Beeles three times before fleeing and letting the man die. The source of the dispute between Howard and Beeles was not revealed during Friday’s hearing, but police said there was no indication it was a robbery.
Howard’s public defender Lou Marczuk argued Howard is too immature to stand trial as an adult when there are juvenile court programs that could redeem him until he was 21.
But the judge sided with prosecutors John Johnson and Cameron Coker, who said Howard has spent most of the last three years in the juvenile justice system, mostly on property crimes, without making any effort to better himself. Prosecutors also showed the judge a photo of the teenager from his Instagram account showing him pointing a semi-automatic pistol with an extended clip at the camera
Howard has continued to show a pattern of incorrigibility since his arrest, they noted. According to witnesses, he was disciplined in prison twice for fighting with other young inmates and once for slapping a MP on the buttocks.
Lt. Cassie Blackerby of the Jacksonville Police Department told the judge a passerby spotted Beele’s body in the parking lot and called the police. Officers who saw the bank footage recognized Howard immediately because he was known to them, having been arrested in the city six times in the past three years, Blackerby said. Beeles, who was killed two days after his 21st birthday, was shot three times and police collected three shell casings in the parking lot, she said.
Bank video shows Howard walking east, which is the direction of his home about a mile away, Blackerby told the judge. The 15-year-old police veteran said police have more surveillance footage showing Howard’s escape, including from a junkyard behind his house, showing Howard holding an extended-clip semi-automatic pistol. She said police didn’t know what happened to the gun.
When police caught up with Howard that night, he was wearing the same clothes he was wearing during the videotaped shooting in the bank’s parking lot, she said.
Investigators were unable to question Howard that night because he passed out and had to be taken to hospital for a possible drug overdose, Blackerby said.