Trials of two men accused in Hempstead County Circuit Court in two separate fatal incidents in 2012 remain pending while mental and physical medical questions are resolved; and, a Pike County school teacher involved in a sexual affair with a student has been given a probated prison sentence.
Trial of Michael Muldrow, 23, of Hope, in the Aug. 16, 2012, shooting death of Mark Harris, 33, of Hope, remains pending while the court awaits the results of a mental evaluation ordered by Eighth Judicial District-North Circuit Judge Randy Wright in February.
Muldrow's attorney, Anthony Biddle, of Texarkana, has also filed notice of an affirmative defense of “self defense” for his client.
Muldrow, originally believed by the Hope Police Department to have been a resident of Louisiana, was extradited back to Hempstead County from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, after allegedly fleeing on a bus bound for Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 16, 2012, to face a single count of first degree murder in connection with Harris' death.
An arrest warrant affidavit filed by HPD Detective Sergeant Jesus Coronado in connection with the case alleges that in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2012, Phillip Williams was having breakfast in the Fulton Square apartment of his sister, Brianna Williams' on Mack Street, and Harris and Brianna Williams were playing a video game, when they were interrupted by a loud knocking at the door.
According to the affidavit, Brianna Williams told her brother to answer the door, and when he did, he was allegedly confronted by Michael Muldrow, who allegedly brushed past Phillip Williams and confronted Brianna Williams, striking her in the face. Muldrow, then, allegedly confronted Harris and shoved him.
Based upon statements taken by Coronado from both Phillip and Brianna Williams, they allege that, at that point, a gunshot was fired, and Phillip Williams fled from the apartment, allegedly followed by Harris, who asked for help, and Phillip asked another tenant to call 911.
Both Phillip and Brianna Williams alleged that, at that point, Muldrow exited the apartment and Phillip Williams fled from the scene.
According to the affidavit, Hope police officers initially responding to the scene found Harris lying on the ground in front of one of the apartments, bleeding from the neck. He was taken by Pafford EMS to Wadley Regional Medical Center at Hope, where he later died, and was pronounced dead by Hempstead County Coroner Ben Brazzel.
At that juncture, HPD investigators were told that Muldrow had allegedly shot Harris, and investigators were able to secure his vehicle at the scene. While the initial investigative affidavit alleges the recovery of one spent shell casing from the hallway of Brianna Williams' apartment, no mention is made of the recovery of a murder weapon.
Muldrow is expected to return to court April 22 for a hearing regarding the outcome of his mental evaluation in Little Rock.
Page 2 of 3 - Negligent homicide case
Also awaiting trial is John David Coe, Jr., 26, of Prescott, who is charged with one count of negligent homicide; one count of first degree battery; two counts of aggravated assault; two counts of aggravated assault on family or household members; possession of a controlled substance (marijuana); and possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with the Nov. 16, 2012, death of Kathryn Nevil, 28, of Franklin, Tenn., and the injury of her two children, Will Nevil, 8, and Lauran Nevil, 12, also of Franklin, Tenn., in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 30 in Hope.
Initial investigation by the Arkansas State Police determined that both Coe's 2008 Toyota and a 2002 Chevrolet driven by Steven Nevil, 31, also of Franklin, Tenn., were westbound on I-30 in Hope when the accident occurred about 9 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2012.
ASP Trooper First Class Kyle Peek determined at that time that Coe's Toyota veered into the path of the Nevil vehicle, causing both vehicles to leave the roadway, both vehicles striking several trees before coming to rest. Kathryn Nevil, a passenger in her husband's vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene by Hempstead County Coroner Ben Brazzel.
Coe is charged with negligent homicide in the death of Kathryn Nevil, “...as a result of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and/or while having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more in his breath or blood...” at the time of the accident, according to the information of charges filed in circuit court.
Eighth Judicial District-North Prosecutor Christi McQueen is seeking an enhanced charge against Coe as a “large habitual” offender, having been convicted of four or more felonies, on all the charges relating to the Nevil family.
McQueen has also asked for enhanced charges against Coe in connection with the two counts of aggravated assault on family or household members as a result of having allegedly placed two other children, Gracie Coe, 9, and Chloe Coe, 12, in “...substantial danger of death or serious physical injury” as a result of his alleged conduct.
Coe, who was himself injured in the accident, has had to undergo surgery as a result of the crash, and has been allowed to recover at a relative's home, but while being monitored with an electronic ankle monitor. Wright has ordered Coe back to jail in Hempstead County after his recovery.
Coe is to appear in court here for a trial setting on April 22.
Affair with student
Former Murfreesboro High School teacher Monica Lee Teel, 28, of Murfreesboro, pleaded no contest to a charge of first degree sexual assault in circuit court here on Monday. A “no contest” pleading means that a defendant will not contest the charges brought against him or her, and will accept the judgement of the court as a result.
Eighth Judicial District-North Circuit Judge Duncan Culpepper accepted the pleading and sentenced Teel to a probated term of 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, and a fine of $2,500, plus court costs and fees. Teel must also register with the State of Arkansas as a sex offender.
Page 3 of 3 - Teel was accused of meeting with one of her civics class students at a cabin on the Hempstead County side of the Hempstead/Pike counties line for sex. At the time of Teel's arrest, the affair had been allegedly ongoing since late 2010, but the series of meetings were anonymously reported to the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police, which turned the investigation over to Hempstead County.