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MAGNOLIA -- A Magnolia man pleaded innocent Thursday to a first-degree murder charge during his arraignment in Columbia County Circuit Court.

Stephen T. Smith, 24, is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Jarious Shaw in the chest Nov. 19 on Norma Street in Magnolia.

First-degree murder is a Class Y felony in Arkansas. If convicted, Smith faces a sentence of 10-40 years or life in prison.

Smith is in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Correction after being transferred out of the Columbia County jail in December.

A parole hold revoking any bond was placed on the defendant after his arrest in November because he was already a convicted felon and had recently been released from prison.

Smith was convicted of robbery in 2012 and sentenced to 15 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended after five years, according to Arkansas' Administrative Office of the Courts website.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court April 4 in Columbia County.

Smith was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force on Nov. 24 in Bossier City, La., days after he was named as the suspect in Shaw's death.

Smith told his sister that he shot Shaw because Shaw was "messing with him" and had pushed him, according to an affidavit filed in Columbia County Circuit Court. When interviewed by police a few days later, Smith said Shaw had a gun, the affidavit said.

Smith told police the shooting occurred inside a residence on Norma Street. He said he wasn't sure if the bullet hit Shaw. Smith said Shaw ran "around the house" and "down the street to his house," according to the affidavit.

Police found Shaw alive in the backyard of another house on Norma Street. He was transported to Magnolia Regional Medical Center where he died, according to the affidavit.

Witnesses told police that Smith went to a residence on Norma Street and asked to speak with Shaw. The two men went outside, and witnesses heard a gunshot shortly afterward, authorities said.

The shooting was the first of four homicides in Magnolia during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Information for this article was contributed by Stephen Simpson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

State Desk on 02/09/2019

Print Headline: Innocent plea made for Magnolia killing

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