A 15-year-old Jacksonville boy seen on video gunning down a man will be prosecuted for first-degree murder 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 to death in the east parking lot of First Arkansas Bank & Trust, 600 W. Main St., last July.
Bank surveillance video played for the judge shows Howard and Beeles in a fistfight until Howard pulls out a gun and shoots Beeles three times before fleeing, leaving the man to die. The source of the dispute between Howard and Beeles was not disclosed during Friday's hearing, but police said there were no sign 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 justice programs that could rehabilitate him by the time he turns 21.
But the judge sided with prosecutors John Johnson and Cameron Coker, who said Howard has spent most of the past three years in the juvenile justice system, mostly for property crimes, without making an effort to improve himself. Prosecutors also showed the judge a photograph of the teen taken from his Instagram account that shows him pointing a semi-automatic pistol with an extended clip at the camera
Howard has continued to display a pattern of incorrigibility since his arrest, they noted. He's been disciplined twice in the jail for fights with other teenage inmates and once for slapping the buttocks of a female deputy, according to testimony.
Jacksonville police Lt. Cassie Blackerby told the judge a passerby discovered Beeles' body in the parking lot and called police. Officers who saw the bank footage immediately recognized Howard because he was known to them because he'd been arrested in the city six times in the previous three years, Blackerby testified. Beeles, killed two days after his 21st birthday, was shot three times, and police collected three shell casings in the parking lot, she said.
The bank video shows Howard running east, which is the direction of his home about a mile away, Blackerby told the judge. The 15-year police veteran said police have more surveillance video that shows Howard's flight, including from a salvage yard behind his home that shows Howard holding a semi-automatic pistol with an extended clip. She said police don't know what happened to the gun.
When police caught up with Howard that night, he was wearing the same clothes that he had on during the video-recorded bank parking lot shooting, she said.
Investigators couldn't question Howard that night because he passed out and had to be taken to the hospital for a possible drug overdose, Blackerby said.