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A 53-year-old armed-robbery suspect from Jacksonville, twice arrested out of state, is a flight risk who must remain jailed indefinitely, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled Thursday.

Michael Deangelo Pusha is also a registered sex offender for raping a 13-year-old Jacksonville girl with another man when he was 29, court records show.

He's been jailed without bail since his most recent arrest, May 14 in Wichita, Kan., about four months after authorities say he jumped bail on aggravated-robbery and theft charges in Pulaski County.

Pusha, whose aliases include Suicide, pleaded with Piazza on Thursday to be released again on bail. His attorney, Tim Boozer, asked the judge to consider that Pusha hadn't picked up any new charges since he last went to court in January and that Pusha was holding down a job when he was arrested in Kansas.

Deputy prosecutor Ashley Clancy said Pusha should be jailed until trial, which has yet to be scheduled, given his criminal history and how he's now been arrested twice in other states.

The Pulaski County charge stems from a Dec. 17, 2016, armed robbery of a Jacksonville car dealer, Clancy told the judge.

Pusha had taken a Jaguar for a test drive, then told dealer John Sears he wanted to buy the car, she said.

Pusha filled out the paperwork on the car, but then pulled a gun and demanded Sears surrender his wallet, the prosecutor said.

Sears, 69, was able to lock Pusha in the garage and call police, but Pusha escaped. He was seen fleeing in his mother's 2015 gray Chrysler 2000, which she had recently reported stolen, Clancy said.

Pusha was arrested the next day after officers in Oklahoma City came across him asleep in the car in the parking lot of a truck stop on Interstate 35, with a pistol -- also stolen from his mother -- on the passenger seat next to him, the prosecutor said.

Pusha's mother died in January 2017, and he spent almost a year in jail awaiting trial until he was able to post $25,000 bond in December, about a month before he was due back in court for a pretrial hearing. He did not show up for that January hearing, and the judge issued an arrest warrant. Prosecutors have also charged him with failure to appear, which carries up to 10 years in prison.

In August 1996, Pusha and another man, Joe Paul Murdock, were convicted at trial for raping a troubled 13-year-old girl in September 1994 at a Jacksonville gaming arcade when Pusha was 29 and Murdock was 18.

The men told the girl she could join their nonexistent gang if she passed their initiation. She could either be "beat in" or "sexed in," and she chose to be sexed into the gang, meaning that she would have to have sex with six people, court records show.

She had sex in the arcade restroom with both men separately, the girl told jurors at trial. Both men testified that they never had sex with her.

The girl had been a runaway, then later kicked out of her home by her mother when she took up with Pusha. When police found her, she told them what had happened. Detectives took her for a rape exam, and the men were arrested the next month. The girl spent most of the next year living in a succession of youth homes and shelters before entering foster care.

Murdock was sentenced to 10 years, the minimum punishment, while Pusha received a 15-year term, although that sentence was stacked onto an eight-year prison sentence he received in February 1995 for forgery and theft convictions.

Court records show Pusha has five felony convictions in Kansas, where he has been sentenced four times to the penitentiary. He was convicted of theft three times between 1990 and 1991. In 2012, he was convicted of theft then was convicted in 2013 of failing to register as a sex offender. He was paroled to Arkansas in March 2015, Kansas records show.

Murdock would also go on to commit other crimes. In July 2005, the then 28-year-old shot and killed 17-year-old Charles Ray Allen of Jacksonville in what authorities described as an argument over drugs. The teen's body was dumped at the end of Boyd Road in northern Pulaski County; a passer-by happened to discover the remains the day after he was killed.

Murdock pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, reduced from capital murder, in January 2006 in exchange for a 40-year no-parole sentence. He will be released in July 2045 when he is 68 years old.


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Metro on 06/23/2018

Print Headline: Armed-robbery suspect ordered jailed

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