A 59-year-old Pulaski County parolee has accepted a 25-year prison term for killing a former friend whose body was found in a septic tank.
Court records show Troy Lee Warner pleaded guilty last week before Circuit Judge Cathi Compton to first-degree murder, reduced from capital murder, and abuse of corpse for the 2019 shooting death of Edward Neal "Eddie" Perkins, 56, of North Little Rock. Perkins had suffered skull fractures from a beating and had been shot twice in the head.
A tip to sheriff's deputies two weeks before Christmas 2019 that Perkins had been killed at Warner's home -- a 2.8 acre property on Wrightway Road off of West Bingham Road -- three months earlier led to a raid that discovered the victim's remains.
Authorities estimate Perkins was killed sometime between September 2019, when he had been reported missing to North Little Rock police, and October 2019. Perkins' pickup was found burned in Grant County.
Court filings show that when deputies told Warner they were looking for Perkins, Warner responded by stating Perkins had hung himself on the property and that Warner and others had buried him. He refused to answer questions and asked for a lawyer.
Witnesses questioned by deputies said Warner killed Perkins, although the men had once been friends, because Warner believed the victim had stolen a black bag from him containing drugs and money.
One of the last people believed to have seen Perkins alive told deputies he had seen Perkins leave to retrieve the bag in question to show that it wasn't Warner's, according to court records. Warner was arrested at the scene and has been jailed since.
Court records show Warner, with convictions for firearm possession, drug trafficking and theft by receiving, has been on probation or parole for the past 15 years. Last sentenced to prison in March 2014, after accepting an eight-year sentence for pleading guilty to drug, gun and theft charges, Warner was approved for parole in February 2015.
Authorities contended that Warner was a drug dealer, and the December 2019 raid that recovered Perkins' body turned up a bag containing methamphetamine and marijuana. The resulting drug trafficking charges were dropped as part of his plea agreement.
A co-defendant, 40-year Jake Eli Johnson of Hensley, was arrested about six weeks after the body was found and faced charges similar to Warner's. Johnson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in July and received a 40-year sentence.
According to an arrest affidavit, Johnson, who has convictions for robbery, drug trafficking and firearm possession, was seen getting a gun and going into a residence where Perkins was being held, with a witness hearing gunshots once Johnson went back inside.
Johnson told deputies he had seen Perkins and Warner fighting, with Warner striking Perkins with a board. He also told investigators he was present when Perkins was shot, the affidavit states.