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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Edward Ashlock. Photo by the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

HOT SPRINGS -- A Montgomery County man arrested last month after fleeing from a Garland County sheriff's deputy has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a body found in his vehicle, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Keith Edward Ashlock, 58, of Pine Ridge was arrested April 30 on felony and misdemeanor charges of first-degree criminal mischief and misdemeanor charges of fleeing in a vehicle, fleeing on foot, and obstructing governmental operations -- all stemming from the pursuit and damages he is accused of causing before being taken into custody.

After Ashlock's arrest, police discovered the body of Jimmy Fryar, 65, also of Montgomery County, inside the vehicle.

Ashlock was charged with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison, in Fryar's death, the sheriff's office said in a news release Monday.

"The investigation is ongoing" with the Arkansas State Police and the Montgomery County sheriff's office, the release said.

An April 30 post on the Montgomery County sheriff's office's Facebook page stated that Sheriff David White was contacted by Garland County sheriff's investigators about the body found inside the car. White went to Ashlock's residence, where he reported finding evidence of a crime scene. The post said foul play was suspected, and state police worked the crime scene.

Ashlock pleaded innocent May 1 in Garland County District Court to the initial charges and was set for a felony review hearing June 17. He also will be arraigned on the murder charge at that time, according to court documents. He was initially held in lieu of $100,000 bond, but is now being held in lieu of $200,000 bond.

According to the probable cause affidavit, around 3:45 a.m. April 30, Deputy Aaron Bowerman got behind a Cadillac with an Oaklawn vanity plate in place of an authorized license plate and activated his lights to make a traffic stop.

The vehicle made a quick left turn into Hamilton Pointe Condos, "purposefully breaking the security gate," the affidavit said. Bowerman pursued the vehicle and located it near one of the condominiums with the engine still running, but the driver was gone.

A Hot Springs police K-9 unit tracked the driver, later identified as Ashlock, to the roof of an adjoining condo where he was hiding behind a chimney. A check of the vehicle's identification number returned to a 55-year-old Hot Springs man.

Deputies said they attempted to get Ashlock to get off the roof, but he refused. Deputies called first responders to bring a ladder and were able to get Ashlock off the roof after about two hours.

Ashlock initially claimed to be the man to whom the vehicle was registered.

Ashlock pleaded guilty May 12, 2014, in Pulaski County to felony charges of residential burglary and theft of property and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was on parole, according to court records. He also had pleaded guilty July 6, 2010, in Garland County to a felony charge of first-degree criminal mischief and was sentenced to three years in prison.

State Desk on 05/21/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas man charged in death of man found in vehicle

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