HOT SPRINGS -- Police on Tuesday arrested the first of three suspects sought in the Dec. 11 assault and robbery of a 74-year-old veteran, a crime that led to an outpouring of offers from the public to help the victim.
De'Andre Tre'von Woods, 20, of 108 Bailey Place, Apartment A-2, was taken into custody at his residence around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday and was charged with felony counts of aggravated residential burglary and aggravated robbery, each punishable by up to life in prison, and second-degree battery and theft of property, each punishable by up to six years in prison.
Woods, who has no previous felony history, according to court records, was being held without bail and is to appear Jan. 22 in Garland County District Court, although he will likely be arraigned before then.
Veteran Jack Milton told officers that three black males forced entry into his home in the 900 block of Park Avenue and struck him several times with tire irons and blunt wooden objects. The thieves stole his wallet, which held personal documents, a debit card and cash, police said in a news release.
Cpl. Joey Williams, the department's public relations officer, said Tuesday that the case was still under investigation and police were seeking to identify and locate two other suspects.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Milton told police that he was sitting in his living room shortly before 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 with his front door open but the screen door locked. Three unknown people appeared at the screen door and asked for directions to "Central Park."
One of them "lured" Milton to unlock the screen door and point in the direction of the park, the affidavit said. Once the screen door was unlocked, the door was forced open. One of the people began hitting Milton with a tire iron while the other two used wooden "limbs or clubs," striking Milton repeatedly in the face and body, the affidavit said.
Once Milton was on the floor, the thieves kicked him in the ribs while yelling, "Give me your money!" as they continued striking him, the affidavit said. Milton suffered multiple gashes on his face and head swelling.
Milton told police that he would recognize the person who grabbed the door from him and did most of the talking.
Detectives Hunter Scott and John Hammons went to Milton's apartment to gather evidence and canvas the area for witnesses. They spoke to one witness who reported seeing three males running from Milton's porch. The witness noted that one was wearing a red jacket. The thief saw the witness and yelled to the other two that the witness was "calling the cops."
The witness reported getting a good look at the thief's face and would be able to identify him, the affidavit said.
While on foot canvassing the area of Park Place Apartments, detectives observed three people who matched the general description given by the victim and witness, including one wearing a red jacket, who walked out of an apartment and got into a red Toyota.
A patrol officer later located the vehicle, made a traffic stop and identified Woods and two other males in the vehicle, the affidavit said.
Hammons collected video from businesses in the area that showed three people running north on Mountain Valley from the area of Milton's residence. The three turned east on Reid Street, back north onto Park, then east on Bloom.
Video from Park Place showed the three walking through the lot and going up the stairs to Woods' apartment just before detectives began searching the area, according to the affidavit.
Milton went to the Police Department on Jan. 1 and was shown a photo lineup. He identified Woods as one of the thieves, describing his actions as "leading the attack," the affidavit said.
That same day, the witness was shown the photo lineup and identified Woods as the person who fled the scene wearing a red jacket, according to the affidavit.
State Desk on 01/10/2019
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