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Man charged with first-degree murder after girlfriend found shot in Fort Smith

by Thomas Saccente | April 10, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
Ervin Eduardo Nafate Ruiz

FORT SMITH -- Bail was set at $500,000 Friday for a man charged with murder in his girlfriend's death.

Ervin Eduardo Nafate-Ruiz, 24, was charged with first-degree murder, according to a news release from Sebastian County Prosecutor Dan Shue.

Police found the body of Jessica Ann Chavez, 32, just after 6 a.m. Thursday at an apartment at 1701 Brazil Ave., according to a probable cause affidavit. Chavez had been shot once in the chest.

Witnesses said they heard shouting coming from the couple's apartment about 5 a.m. They told police Nafate-Ruiz left the home, but returned before they heard a gunshot, according to the affidavit.

Several domestic disturbances occurred at the apartment during the past few weeks. Chavez ran from Nafate-Ruiz and sought refuge at a neighbor's apartment during those disturbances, according to the affidavit.

Police discovered a shell casing in the bedroom, but no gun.

They found Nafate-Ruiz at a house in Poteau, Okla. The affidavit states he had blood on his hands, shorts, one of his socks and right leg.

Nafate-Ruiz will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Shue.

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