Two of the three people accused of participating in the fatal robbery of a Little Rock security guard in his home have now been sent to prison on murder and robbery charges.
The final defendant -- the man his co-defendants say is the killer, 28-year-old Calvin Thornton Jr. of Little Rock -- is to stand trial before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims at the end of the month. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Thornton on capital murder and aggravated robbery charges.
Police say Thornton has implicated himself in the July 2015 slaying of 68-year-old Fred William Pohnka Jr. during a robbery at Pohnka's South Jackson Street home.
Pohnka, a father of three, was found dead in the kitchen of his ransacked home by his supervisors, John Platt and Wayne Taylor.
They had gone to check on Pohnka when he did not show up for work at Regions Bank. His car was in the driveway when they arrived, and they found his front door unlocked. They saw his body in a pool of blood and called police.
The three defendants were charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery.
On Monday, 29-year-old Alexandria Levette Martin of Little Rock, who was Thornton's girlfriend, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of second-degree murder and robbery in exchange for a 40-year prison term. The mother of two has no prior felony convictions and was the first arrested after Pohnka's death.
Martin and co-defendant Malcolm Jamal Cooksey, 25, told authorities that Thornton beat Pohnka to death with a gun during the robbery.
Last month, Cooksey accepted a 50-year prison sentence for first-degree murder and felony theft.
He was arrested the day after Martin. Court records show he was on probation at the time of the slaying for a July 2010 arrest in Little Rock with a stolen car and a gun. The resulting theft by receiving conviction was his first felony, court records show.
His plea is conditioned on fulfilling his promise to testify against Thornton, court records show.
Martin was arrested almost a week after Pohnka was killed. Detectives were directed to her by the last person Pohnka ever spoke to by phone, Victoria Harton. Phone records showed that he had spoken with the 29-year-old Little Rock woman shortly before he was killed.
Harton told police that she'd had sex with Pohnka for money three days earlier. On the night he was killed, she'd turned him down but arranged for him to meet Martin, she said.
Detectives got surveillance video taken from several convenience stores in the county where the victim's bank cards had been used and got photographs of the three defendants, court records show.
After her arrest, Martin told police that the men had followed her to Pohnka's home. She said they rushed into the house when the victim opened the front door for her to leave.
Martin said she went back inside the home a short time later and helped the men steal a TV, guns and the victim's wallet. She also said she'd taken her cigarette butts and anything else she thought might connect her to the home.
Martin told police that Cooksey said he'd hit the man in the head with his gun when "things got out of hand," according to court filings.
In his post-arrest interview with detectives, Cooksey denied harming the man, saying Thornton was the killer.
A two-day manhunt for Thornton by police and federal marshals ended at the home of Thornton's cousin, Shaloriale Nywan Moore, 37, at 1600 S. Pierce St., where police arrested Thornton after finding him hiding in Moore's attic, nine days after the slaying.
Moore was also arrested because she'd told police he wasn't there. Moore has since pleaded guilty to felony hindering apprehension in exchange for three years on probation.
Metro on 02/04/2017
Print Headline: Second suspect in '15 LR killing handed 40 years