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Arkansas murder detailed in filing; 2 suspects face charges in Helena-West Helena case

by Bill Bowden | January 19, 2019 at 4:30 a.m.

Four men fled on foot from a home-invasion homicide scene in Helena-West Helena after one of them lost the keys to the get-away car and someone down the street shot at them, according to an affidavit filed Thursday in Phillips County Circuit Court.

Police arrived at a duplex on Georgia Street on Nov. 21 to find Larry Rodgers lying in the yard. He had been shot in the hip, shoulder and thigh, according to the affidavit from Police Chief James Smith.

Inside Rodgers' residence, police discovered Marvin Perry had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Rodgers' roommate, Roosevelt Murphy, was lying on the floor bleeding from two stab wounds to his abdomen, Smith said.

On Thursday, Hakeam Williams, 24, and Cortez Banks, 26, were charged with first-degree murder in the case, according to a court filing. They also face charges of battery and burglary. They have yet to enter pleas in the case.

Two other suspects have yet to be charged.

Before an ambulance arrived Nov. 21, Rodgers told police four men entered his duplex. One of them had a rifle.

Two of the attackers beat Rodgers and Murphy while the other two searched the house, according to the affidavit.

Rodgers told police Perry was brought into the house at gunpoint and beaten. One of the attackers said he lost his car keys, then began beating Perry in the head with a hammer, Rodgers told police.

When he heard one of them say, "We gotta finish them off," Rodgers ran outside and was shot, according to the affidavit.

Police received an anonymous tip that Williams and Banks were involved in the incident.

Williams apparently went to his job at a local Walmart store after the homicide. He clocked in 14 minutes late, according to the affidavit.

The store's night manager told police Williams had scratches on his face and was "acting strange" during his shift.

When interviewed by police two days later, Williams admitted he was involved in the incident, according to the affidavit. He told police Melvin Jefferson, who hasn't been charged in the case, was the one who stabbed Murphy and struck Perry with a hammer. Williams told police he saw Jefferson and Banks fire at Rodgers as he tried to escape. Williams told police Jefferson had a 9mm pistol and Banks was firing with a rifle from a bedroom window.

Williams said they fled on foot from Rodgers' duplex when someone down the street shot at them, according to the affidavit.

Williams said he, Jefferson and Banks met near a Sears store and tried to get a ride but couldn't. They walked to the Sands motel, where they tried to get a room but were denied service.

"Williams stated that he and Banks went to Walmart because he had to be at work," according to the affidavit.

When interviewed Nov. 24, Banks told police a similar story regarding Jefferson's involvement, but Banks denied having a rifle.

On Nov. 24, police went to a Memphis hospital to interview Rodgers. He identified Williams and Banks from a photo lineup as two of the attackers. Rodgers told police Banks had a rifle and hit him in the head with it.

Rodgers also identified Tyrone Shepard as one of the attackers. He has not been charged in the case.

A burgundy-colored Dodge with Michigan tags was left at the murder scene. It was registered to Shepard, according to the affidavit.

Shepard, 18, was arrested Thursday on assault charges in Tennessee. He was being held Friday in the Shelby County jail.

The whereabouts of Banks, Williams and Jefferson were unclear Friday. Helena-West Helena police didn't return telephone calls Thursday and Friday regarding the case.

Todd Murray, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' 1st Judicial Circuit, and Amy Boyd, a deputy prosecutor, also didn't return calls Friday.

Metro on 01/19/2019


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