FAYETTEVILLE -- A man who shot and killed his roommate, strangled his cellmate and shot a friend avoided the death penalty Tuesday.
Dekota James Harvey, 24, of Fayetteville agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of capital murder and one count of attempted capital murder. Prosecutors waived the death penalty in exchange for the guilty pleas.
Harvey pleaded guilty to killing Elizabeth Alexis Dawson and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay to life without possibility of parole.
Dawson died from a single gunshot wound in the chest, according to police reports. Courtney Willie was shot in the leg during the March 14, 2019, incident at an apartment on Leverett Avenue. Harvey was sentenced to life for the attempted murder of Willie.
Harvey strangled Luis Cobos-Cenobio, 30, in the Washington County jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial. Harvey was sentenced to life without parole for Cobos-Cenobio's death.
Harvey declined to make a statement in court.
"I would have hoped that you would have expressed some remorse today, but that's your decision," Lindsay said.
Lindsay said he hoped the sentencings bring relief for others involved.
"This is one of the cases where there's not much that the court system can do for the victims, not anything. Hopefully, the conclusion of these two cases will bring some closure to their survivors," Lindsay told Harvey. "If you had stolen money, I could make you pay that back. If you'd stolen property, I could make you pay that back. And, though you're going to spend the rest of your life in prison, you've still got it."
Prosecutor Matt Durrett said the victims' families agreed to the plea bargain.
Durrett said a plea bargain for life without parole, rather than a trial and possible death sentence, means families won't have to endure a prolonged appeals process. Dawson's mother isn't going to be worried for the next 10 or 15 years about what's going to happen on some appeal and she can begin the process of healing, Durrett said.
Willie kicked Harvey out of the apartment at 900 N. Leverett Ave. on the night of March 14, 2019. Harvey returned to gather his belongings, according to police reports.
Afterward, Willie called 911 and said Harvey was "hanging around outside acting like a psychopath." She told dispatchers that Harvey was trying to get back into the apartment. Then dispatchers heard a woman yelling in the background, followed by a gunshot.
Willie was shot in the leg. Officers found Dawson shot in the chest and unresponsive.
While Harvey was in jail, a deputy found him waiting at the door of his cell Aug. 27, 2019, and Cobos-Cenobio lying on the floor beside his bunk. The initial indication was that Cobos-Cenobio was strangled, the Washington County sheriff's office said. No weapons were found in the cell.
Harvey told authorities that he killed Cobos-Cenobio because Cobos-Cenobio wanted him to. Harvey previously told jailers that he was afraid for his life and asked specifically to be moved to Cobos-Cenobio's cell.
Cobos-Cenobio of Springdale was charged with attempted capital murder in a Nov. 11, 2018, incident where he shot at police officers during a car chase in Tontitown and Springdale. No officers were injured.
According to a report filed in Washington County Circuit Court, Cobos-Cenobio told doctors during a mental evaluation that he had attempted suicide several times and attempted "suicide by cop."
The evaluation concluded that Cobos-Cenobio didn't have mental disease or defect, and was able to understand court proceedings and assist his attorney.
Cobos-Cenobio had been on suicide watch while at the jail, but he was removed from the list in December 2018, according to the sheriff's office.