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story.lead_photo.caption Christopher Rankin

FAYETTEVILLE -- A Sherwood man pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree murder.

Christopher Rankin, 25, is charged with killing Trenton Coney on New Year's Day in a parking lot off West Avenue.

Coney, 22, of Springdale, was shot once in the chest and pronounced dead at a hospital, according to police.

Rankin was given an initial court date of April 5 before Judge Mark Lindsay in Washington County Circuit Court.

Several witnesses told police Rankin was speaking with a woman in the parking lot of Arsaga's at the Depot when Coney walked up to check on her. Coney and the woman were friends, according to a police report.

Witnesses said Rankin got upset, pulled a gun from his jacket pocket and pointed it at Coney, according to a news release.

The men exchanged words and Rankin put the gun back in his pocket before a physical altercation broke out, witnesses told police. They also said Coney fell to the ground and Rankin stood over him, pulled the gun from his pocket and fired one shot striking Coney in his chest, according to the release.

Rankin fled the scene before officers arrived, but police soon found him. He was taken into custody without incident, according to a release.

Rankin admitted his involvement in the shooting but claimed he fired behind him as he fled from Coney, according to the report. Rankin told police he did not know anyone was wounded.

Rankin faces 10 to 40 years in prison or life imprisonment if he's convicted of first-degree murder. He is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.

NW News on 02/06/2018

Print Headline: Rankin pleads not guilty to murder charge

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