A 24-year-old Little Rock man found dying in front of a West 31st Street home was trying to buy a gun from sellers who robbed him instead, a Pulaski County circuit judge heard Thursday.
Jalen Rahmad Hussian, 19, and Shamar Rawls, 20, are each charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery in the slaying of Braylon Key-Shawn Parks about 2½ weeks before Christmas. Prosecutors seek life sentences for the Little Rock men, deputy prosecutor Jayme Butts-Hall told Judge Leon Johnson at their bail hearing Thursday.
Johnson ordered the men to remain jailed without bail until trial, scheduling Hussian's for November, despite their defense attorneys' efforts to discredit the evidence against them.
Hussian's lawyer, Lawrence Walker, told the judge that the case is based largely on two witnesses of dubious character. One is Parks' cousin who passed up his first chance to fully cooperate with police, while the other witness had to be tracked down and arrested in another case before naming Hussian as the man he saw shoot Parks, Walker told the judge.
The only witness Walker called on Hussian's behalf disputed that Hussian could have been in possession of the cellphone that police say helps tie Hussian to the killing.
On Rawls' behalf, public defender Cheryl Barnard said the best that prosecutors can hope to prove is that Rawls was present when Hussian shot Parks. She told the judge that there is no proof Rawls played any role in Parks' slaying or knew what Hussian was going to do that night.
Homicide detective Irving Jackman told the judge that Parks was shot once but the bullet went through his neck, shoulder and torso. Police found the wounded man lying on the porch at 4616 W. 31st St. about an hour before midnight Dec. 8.
Officers were responding to complaints about gunfire and had received a 911 call about a stranger knocking on the door saying he'd been shot in the head. Investigators found blood in the middle of the street and learned that Parks' 1995 Chevrolet 1500 pickup was missing.
Hussian surrendered about 2 ½ months later after learning that investigators were looking to arrest him in the case. Rawls was arrested at his South Pine Street home the next week.
Jackman testified that a friend of Parks told the police that Parks had planned to meet with Hussian, whom he'd recently bought a gun from with the intention of trading the weapon and some cash for a bigger pistol.
That woman had been with Parks when he bought the first the weapon and is acquainted with Hussian, the detective told the judge.
Parks' cousin said he had been on the phone with Parks as the victim drove to meet Hussian to exchange the gun the night he was killed, Jackman said, testifying that authorities also have Facebook messages between Parks and Hussian.
Parks' cellphone records show he had been in communication the night he was killed with a phone belonging to Hussian's girlfriend, Kayla Michelle Dickerson, 23, of Little Rock, who told police before Hussian's arrest that she had acquired the phone for him to use.
Cellphone records showed that both phones had been in the area where Parks was around the time he was killed . However, Dickerson told the judge at Thursday's hearing that the phone had been stolen hours before Parks was killed.
Dickerson further acknowledged in her testimony that she never told police who had questioned her that the phone had been stolen. Dickerson testified she reported the theft only to her service provider.
On cross-examination, Jackman told the judge that Parks' cousin said he knows Hussian but that the cousin did not give police Hussian's name when he first talked to police the night Parks was killed. The detective testified that the man provided that information in a February interview but could not explain the delay when questioned by the defense.
Jackman said that when police found Parks' pickup, they also discovered fingerprints from two other men. One of them was Rawls, while the other was known to be friends with Hussian and Rawls, Deonte Lavell Goodloe, 20, of North Little Rock.
According to Jackman, police found Goodloe in March when he was arrested by North Little Rock authorities on aggravated-robbery charges related to accusations that he wielded a gun in two December 2019 armed robberies. In one of those holdups a pizza-deliveryman who had been lured into an ambush was pistol-whipped so severely that he was partially blinded.
Goodloe told Little Rock police that he was with Rawls and Hussian when they met with Parks but that he ran away when Hussian pulled out a gun and pointed it at Parks, the detective said. Goodloe said he got some distance away from the others and looked back in time to see Hussian shoot Parks, Jackman testified.
Neither Hussian nor Rawls have been convicted of adult crimes, but both have been through the juvenile-justice system. The prosecutor said Hussian has juvenile convictions for being a minor in possession of a firearm, misdemeanor battery and terroristic-threatening, while court records show that when Hussian was 17, he was charged as an adult in July 2018 with felony fleeing and theft by receiving but the case was later transferred to juvenile court.
According to an arrest report, Hussian led state troopers on a chase in a stolen Dodge Charger that began around the intersection of Colonel Glenn and David O'Dodd that ended in a crash by the Hilton hotel on Kanis Road. During the pursuit, the fleeing car hit a vehicle and also struck the Interstate 430 wall at the Baptist Hospital exit.
Hussian ran from the disabled vehicle but was chased down and arrested.
The car had been stolen the night before the pursuit from the McDonald's restaurant at 10201 North Rodney Parham Road shortly before midnight.
The owner said he was standing outside the running car while his son was in the vehicle when a masked man jumped in the driver seat and drove off. The boy was dropped off about a block away.
In an interview with detectives, Hussian said he had been with Arlando Leveret Coleman when Coleman had taken the Dodge and left him behind.
Hussian said earlier on the day of the chase that he was looking for Coleman and found the Charger with the motor running at the Cottages apartments, 10434 W. 36th St., and had taken it himself, describing how he hit a car while troopers chased him.
Coleman was never charged in the incident with Hussian but court records show him to be a friend of Rawls' now serving a 20-year prison sentence for robbery, aggravated assault, terroristic threatening, theft and second-degree battery.
Court records show that Coleman and Rawls were charged together over the beating and robbery of 54-year-old Anthony Horton in July 2018 outside Horton's South Cedar Street home. A third robber participated in the attack but was never identified.
Horton said Rawls rifled through his pockets and stole his money as the assailants kicked and punched him, court records show. Police could not find Horton's attackers that night even after they had returned to his house after officers had left, saying they were "going to show you what we do with snitches," before leaving again, court files show.
Two months later, Horton reported that Rawls was part of a group that stole his bicycle, with Rawls pointing a gun and threatening to kill him. Rawls also threw a rock through the back door of the home before Horton got a pipe and chased them away. Rawls was subsequently charged as an adult with terroristic threatening and aggravated assault.
Coleman, 19, took a plea deal in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence while prosecutors agreed to transfer all of Rawls' charges to juvenile court in September 2019 after he admitted under oath to committing the crimes, court files show. Rawls said the gun was not real. He also said he'd gone through Horton's pockets like the man had said but didn't take anything because there was no money.
About six months later, Rawls was shot in the left leg in front of 2104 S. Pine St. in a drive-by attack, according to police reports. Police were dispatched to the area on a ShotSpotter activation that recorded six gunshots shortly after 7 p.m. on March 26, 2020. Rawls arrived at the hospital emergency room a short time later.
The home's resident, Tavious Tate, 37, told investigators that he and Rawls had been on the front porch talking when a black four-door sedan drove past with someone shooting from the rear driver's side of the vehicle.
Tate said Rawls pushed him out of the line of fire and ran off limping.
Rawls' uncle, Theolis Ray Jones, 40, said he had been at the Rawls home at 2118 S. Pine, about three houses away, when he heard gunshots and looked over to see Rawls running toward him, describing how he drove the wounded teen to the hospital.
Rawls said he saw the gunman but did not recognize him.