An 18-year-old North Little Rock man lost his bid Friday to have his first-degree murder case tried in juvenile court after a Pulaski County circuit judge learned of the teenager's juvenile convictions for robbery.
Shaquan Markell Thompson is also known to authorities for his associations with the North Little Rock street gang and rap group New Money New Nature, which is linked to the Black Disciples, according to police testimony at Friday's juvenile-transfer hearing before Judge Leon Johnson.
Thompson and co-defendant Typaris Rome Johnson, 19, were arrested about six weeks after 58-year-old Allen Ray McGuire was shot to death inside a friend's home at the Summit apartments at 5120 Velvet Ridge in North Little Rock. Thompson is scheduled to stand trial in April.
Typaris Johnson's trial has not been scheduled. He's in prison serving a five-year prison sentence out of Garland County for fleeing and theft by receiving for a January 2017 arrest with a stolen gun after a police chase in a pickup stolen out of Texas. He is scheduled to be paroled later this month.
Defense attorney Bill James disparaged the case against Thompson as a "pretty weak case" that is "almost completely lacking in evidence"
James told the judge that Friday's hearing amounted to little more than slander against his client, who did not testify. Thompson has had little adult supervision over the past couple of years and could be rehabilitated in juvenile court, the attorney said.
"They threw out a lot of allegations, but not a lot of proof," James told the judge. "Mom wrote him off. He's just running the streets doing what a lot of 17-year-olds do when they're not being monitored."
Thompson's father died when he was nine, and his mother, who lives in Texas, sent him to live with her mother in North Little Rock after he got into trouble with the law in Texas, James said. Neither woman was available to testify on his behalf on Friday.
Thompson was 17 when he was arrested in the McGuire killing. He will turn 19 in April, and prosecutor Erin Driver said Thompson's age is significant because a juvenile judge would only have jurisdiction over Thompson until he turns 21 in 2021.
Driver said the protection of society requires Thompson be prosecuted as an adult, given that his juvenile convictions -- aggravated robbery and robbery in Tarrant County, Texas -- demonstrate a pattern of violent and antisocial behavior.
She also provided the judge with rap videos that showed Thompson, with others, flashing gang signs associated with the Black Disciples, holding a gun and apparently smoking marijuana.
Officer Ryan Davidson told the judge that Thompson had come to the attention of police about three weeks before the killing as authorities gathered information about a violent dispute between the New Money gang and rival gang GWAP (grind with a purpose) that involved a series of shootouts on Maple Street in January 2018.
Among Thompson's friends were Charles Edward "CJ" Smith Jr., a 17-year-old killed by North Little Rock police in January 2018 after he pulled a gun on officers during a traffic stop, Davidson testified.
Police found McGuire shot dead on a living room couch in the apartment of Courtney Ann Hunt on Jan. 19, 2018, detective Michael Gibbons testified Friday.
McGuire, who had been shot in the neck and chest, was holding a .45-caliber pistol in his hand, but forensic testing showed the weapon had not been fired, Gibbons said. Police also found two sets of shell casings in the apartment.
Hunt, 26, testified Friday that she and McGuire, whom she called "Slim," had been smoking marijuana and listening to music when Thompson and Johnson dropped by. The teens, both regular visitors to her apartment, greeted McGuire cordially, she told the judge.
"They smoked with Slim," she said. "They shook his hand."
The teens joined in the smoking, but Johnson got upset when McGuire snatched the marijuana cigarette from him while complaining that the teen wasn't sharing it like he should, Hunt said.
Johnson is a "lone smoker" unused to sharing marijuana, she said, telling the judge she thought the matter was a joke. But Johnson got mad, pulled his gun and got in the older man's face, she said.
Hunt, a mother of five who had seven children in the home that night ages 2 to 10, said she told the men to go outside if they were going to argue and went to the back bedroom to check on the children.
She was in the hallway with her 9-year-old son when the shooting started, she testified. She told the judge that she pushed the boy into the bedroom with the other children and that they all climbed out of the bedroom window to escape.
"All I heard was shots," she said. "I didn't see nobody shoot nobody."
On cross-examination, Hunt acknowledged that she had initially lied to police about who was in her apartment. She said she told investigators that the man with Johnson was named "K.D.," but quickly came clean about Thompson when pressed by Gibbons, "a great guy." She said she was too scared of Thompson to tell police about him immediately.
"After praying, I went and told the truth," Hunt said. "He [Thompson] was there. I can't say what he done, but he was there."
The only people she saw with guns that night were Johnson and McGuire, although she knows Thompson to regularly be armed, she said. Two of her children told police that Thompson had come in the bedroom before the shooting and retrieved a pistol that had been hidden under the mattress.
Metro on 02/02/2019
Print Headline: Teen to be tried as adult in Arkansas killing; gang activities, convictions cited