Murder suspect's bail cut to $250,000

A Pulaski County circuit judge Monday cut the $500,000 bail in half for a Little Rock murder suspect after the defendant's attorney accused police of overlooking someone who had a motive to kill the victim.

Marcus Lane Ervin, 20, was arrested Sept. 27, the day after Christopher Little, 31, was found shot dead -- struck in the head, chest and stomach -- in the 5800 block of Palo Alto Drive, a dead-end street in south Little Rock.

Ervin's arrest came barely two months after he was placed on probation after pleading guilty to felony marijuana trafficking. He remained in jail Monday evening. Ervin did not testify at his bond hearing, but his mother, Monteia Dobbs, said the most bail his family could afford was $50,000.

Authorities have a strong case, with three eyewitnesses, one of them Ervin's cousin and another his girlfriend, telling police they saw him shooting at Little, senior deputy prosecutor Barbara Mariani told the judge.

Detective Matt Harrelson said at Monday's hearing that four 9 mm bullet casings were found next to Little's body and that a 9 mm pistol, loaded with the same brand of bullets, was found in Ervin's bedroom closet. Investigators also seized a pair of shorts tainted with gunpowder from Ervin's home at the Colonial Parc Apartments on Stanley Drive, Harrelson said. Ballistics tests on the gun are pending, he said.

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Citing witness statements, Harrelson testified that Little had been in a confrontation with Ervin's cousin, 28-year-old Emmanuel Holmes, shortly before he was killed. Holmes, who said he saw Ervin shoot Little, had questioned Little about being involved in the attempted theft of a car that had been carrying Holmes' children, the detective said.

Harrelson told the judge investigators know little about that incident, describing it as a "rumor," because whatever happened, if anything, it was never reported to police. Both Holmes and his live-in girlfriend, Brianna Reynolds, said Ervin drove up, shot Little in a rage a few minutes later and then fled, Harrelson testified.

But defense attorney Megan Wilson disputed that police had focused on the right man. Holmes was the one with a reason to be angry with Little since the stolen car incident involved his children, she told the judge.

Holmes closely resembles Ervin, but while police searched his home, investigators did not seize his clothes to check for gunpowder residue as they did with Ervin, Wilson said. Detectives also did not bother to fully investigate discrepancies in Brianna Reynolds' story, despite having to question the woman, Holmes' girlfriend, four times about what happened and where she was when Little was shot, Wilson told the judge. Reynolds initially told police that she and Holmes didn't see anything because they were driving away when the shooting occurred, Wilson said.

Ervin's girlfriend, Jada Watson, first told police she did not see the shooting but changed her account after being pressed by detectives, Wilson said.

Ervin went to police that night to clear his name and submitted to an interview, and Holmes told police Ervin didn't know anything about the stolen car incident until Holmes told him about it on the day of the shooting, Wilson said.

Metro on 02/04/2020