Man sentenced to 25 years for role in robbery

Shooting suspect still at large months after holdup in LR

A 22-year-old Jacksonville man has accepted a 25-year prison sentence for his role in a Little Rock marijuana-related armed robbery in which one man was shot last summer. The suspected gunman remains at large, almost a year later.

Sentencing papers filed Friday by deputy prosecutor Michael Wright show that Jaylin Clarence Stephens pleaded guilty to robbery in exchange for the sentence imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Stephens' plea, negotiated by defense attorney Bobby Digby, shows that the charge was reduced from aggravated robbery and that prosecutors dropped a first-degree battery charge representing the injuries suffered by 24-year-old Ricardo Guerra-Segura of Little Rock.

Guerra-Segura was critically injured in the holdup and identified Tavaurus R. Montgomery, 24, of Bryant from police photos as the man who shot him, court filings show.

Montgomery has been wanted on first-degree battery and aggravated robbery warrants ever since the shooting. Court records show Montgomery has been a fugitive since October 2016 on a probation-revocation petition stemming from his October 2015 guilty plea to drug charges.

A seriously wounded Guerra-Segura was found in his silver Chevrolet Trail Blazer by Little Rock police called to the Pleasant Pointe Apartments, 1602 Green Mountain Drive, around mid-afternoon on July 16.

Investigators found two guns -- one of them a .32 pistol that belonged to Guerra-Segura -- and multiple .22-caliber shell cases. In the hospital emergency room, Guerra-Segura told police that he'd gone to the apartments to drop off some music to a man he knew only as "Drax." No one answered the door of the apartment Drax had directed him to, and he could not get Drax on the phone, he told police.

He said he had just started to leave when a stranger walked up to him and demanded money. Guerra-Segura said he refused, which led to a struggle in which the stranger pulled a gun, shot at him and ran away. Guerra-Segura said he was unable to shoot back. He returned to his SUV and blacked out.

Detectives couldn't question Guerra-Segura extensively because he had to undergo surgery, but four days later he was able to identify Stephens as Drax from a Facebook photograph investigators showed him. Guerra-Segura also told police he had not gone to the apartments for music like he said, but that he had actually been delivering marijuana to Stephens, and that the gunman had stolen it, court files show.

Police obtained video surveillance that shows Stephens in a 2015 gray Chrysler 200, dropping off the shooter. Witnesses also told detectives that Montgomery and Stephens had been in the apartment, although they denied seeing the shooting or having any role in the robbery.

Stephens was arrested at 600 Union Court in Maumelle about five months after the shooting as he was leaving his girlfriend's home, according to a police report.

When he was arrested, Stephens had been on probation after pleading guilty to marijuana trafficking, gun possession and prescription drug possession charges in December 2017 after arrests in Jacksonville and Little Rock about three months apart. He has been jailed ever since.

His first arrest came about a week before Halloween 2016 when Little Rock police found marijuana, oxycodone and drug paraphernalia during a search of his brother's residence at the Spanish Rock Apartments, 11221 Mara Lynn Road. The brother, 26-year-old Adolphe Stephens III of Jacksonville, pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor prescription drug and marijuana charges in exchange for two years of probation.

Jaylin Stephens' second arrest came in January 2017 at his family home, 2400 Emily Lane, after Jacksonville police found a sawed-off shotgun, a pistol and a small amount of marijuana.

Court records show that Stephens had come to the attention of authorities as early as June 2016 after he accidentally shot himself in the right foot at the Mara Lynn Road apartment he shared then with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Alisha Cotton, who drove him to the hospital.

In the emergency room, Stephens told police that he'd just bought a Glock 40 and was clearing the gun when he accidentally pulled the trigger. The gun turned out to be stolen, but prosecutors declined to charge him.

Metro on 06/13/2019

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