A 16-year-old boy accused in the June 12 fatal shooting of a Newport police officer pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect and disease in Jackson County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Derrick Heard of Newport entered the plea during a brief hearing through his attorney, Ronald Davis of Little Rock. Heard, dressed in a black T-shirt and black shorts, did not speak during the hearing and was quickly ushered back to the juvenile detention facility at the Craighead County jail in Jonesboro.
Circuit Judge Harold S. Erwin of Newport ordered Heard undergo a mental evaluation before he sets a trial date.
Heard is charged with capital murder in the slaying of Lt. Patrick Weatherford, 41, a 15-year veteran of the Newport Police Department. According to an arrest affidavit filed in Newport District Court, Weatherford responded to a report of a vehicle break-in at the Newport High School at about 6 p.m. June 12. Weatherford and Sgt. Shane Rogers spotted a suspect and chased him. Police said Heard fired at Weatherford, hitting him in the abdomen. He died later that evening at a Newport hospital.
Heard also faces charges of attempted capital murder, breaking or entering, theft and being a minor in possession of a handgun.
Erwin also accepted a not-guilty plea from Tyler Calamese, 18, who police first thought killed Weatherford.
Calamese is charged with breaking or entering, theft and providing a weapon to a minor.
Police say Calamese stole a handgun and gave it to Heard, who then used it to kill Weatherford.
Calamese is released on a $5,000 bond and will return to Jackson County Circuit Court on Sept. 14.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.