Suspect in Easter homicide, Little Rock man ordered arrested on battery charge

FILE — The Pulaski County Courthouse is shown in this 2019 file photo.
FILE — The Pulaski County Courthouse is shown in this 2019 file photo.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Latonya Honorable ordered the arrest of a 20-year-old Little Rock murder suspect on Monday after prosecutors reported he has been accused of shooting a Searcy woman and scuffling with the father of the slain woman in separate incidents.

Zabion Deshon Bealer is charged with second-degree murder, accused in the Easter 2022 road-rage shooting death of 21-year-old Joanna Lucille Bell of North Little Rock on Baseline Road. Bealer was arrested two days later and jailed with $1 million bail.

Bealer spent three months in jail before being released on his own recognizance under the condition that he report weekly by phone to probation, court records show.

Monday, Honorable ordered Bealer's arrest after deputy prosecutor Christy Bjornson reported that Bealer has violated his release conditions by assaulting Bell's father following a February hearing before the judge, and is now wanted in White County over accusations he shot Lacie McKenzie of Searcy. White County authorities have since issued a warrant for Bealer, charging him with first-degree battery.

According to an arrest affidavit, at about 7:21 p.m. on Oct. 2, Searcy police were called to the Meadow Lake Apartments on Meadow Lake Circle, where officers found McKenzie with a gunshot wound to her ankle. Witnesses directed police to Bealer, who denied involvement and was not arrested due to lack of evidence.

But in a subsequent interview with police, McKenzie said she'd been attacked by a stranger whom she'd heard was named Zabion. The attacker pistol-whipped her in the head several times, knocking her to the ground, then shot her in the ankle. McKenzie was able to identify Bealer as her assailant in a police photographic lineup, the affidavit states.

Bjornson's petition further states that, following a Feb. 13 circuit court hearing, Bealer had to be physically restrained outside the courthouse by a Little Rock detective after assaulting Bell's family and injuring her father. No charges have been filed in that incident, according to court records.

Bell was found fatally wounded by a bullet in the head on Easter morning after someone fired a gun into the blue 2021 Toyota Camry that she was riding in. The car's driver, Ahmarion Reeves, 19, told police they had been driving on Mann Road at the Stardust Trail intersection when someone in a dark-green pickup came up behind him from Stardust.

Reeves said the pickup got up on his rear bumper with the driver honking his horn. Reeves turned north onto Chicot Road with the pickup still following very closely. Bell yelled at the pickup to stop following so closely, and as they came up on the Baseline intersection, she threw a water bottle at the pickup.

Reeves told police he turned east onto Baseline with the pickup still close behind, driving in an "aggressive manner." He said the pickup pulled up along his passenger side and the driver pointed a gun at him and Bell.

When they stopped for the light at Baseline and Geyer Springs roads, Bell got out and got into a fight with the pickup driver that involved punching and shoving as well as each person throwing plastic bottles at the other. Bell was shot in the street by the driver, a stranger, Reeves told police.

Reeves said he then drove off east on Baseline with the pickup driver following briefly before turning off the road somewhere. Reeves said he then drove back to where Bell lay. A witness confirmed Reeves' story about the fight between Bell and the pickup driver.

According to an arrest affidavit, police obtained surveillance video that showed the license plate of the pickup, a 2006 green Chevrolet Silverado owned by 63-year-old Robin McCarroll. She told detectives that her son, 44-year-old Courtney Bealer, had the truck that day. He in turn told investigators his grandson, Zabion Bealer, was using the truck during the time frame in which the woman was killed.

In an interview with police, the younger Bealer said the Bell car had been behind him, honking, before swerving around him while throwing water bottles at his truck.

He said that on Baseline, he and the other driver were swerving in each other's way "in an aggressive" manner several times as the car's passenger threw bottles at the pickup.

When both vehicles stopped, the woman passenger came to his truck and began punching him, Bealer told investigators, describing how he tried to push her away several times. His gun was between the front seat and center console, and Bealer said the woman told him she had seen it.

At some point, the woman went back to the car, got a water bottle and threw it at him, Bealer said. He told police that he had his gun drawn by then and that they subsequently struggled for the weapon, stating that he shot her twice then fled, the affidavit states.

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