Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in Beacon Point Apartments shooting

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A man originally accused of second-degree murder in connection with a drug-related home invasion that ended with two dead in November 2015 pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Rashod Rushing, 28, appeared with Managing Public Defender Jason Mitchell for a hearing Thursday afternoon before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones at the Miller County courthouse. Rushing was one of two men charged after a shooting Nov. 15, 2015, in a unit of the Beacon Point Apartments in Texarkana, Ark.

Justin Johnson, 29, was acquitted last month of capital murder by a jury. Rushing testified at Johnson’s trial that he and several others were visiting Trevon Staten, 22, at his apartment when three or four men entered and began firing guns. Witnesses at Johnson’s trial testified that drugs and cash were stolen.

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Rushing identified Johnson as one of the assailants during Johnson’s trial. Rushing admitted that when the gunfire in the apartment ceased and the attackers left, he grabbed a pistol and ran outside. On the grounds of the apartment complex, Rushing found 33-year-old Julian Bolton crawling on the ground. Bolton had apparently been struck by one of his accomplice’s bullets. When his body was photographed by crime scene investigators, a mask still covered his face.

Rushing testified last month that he fired two shots into Bolton’s head, killing him as he suffered from a gunshot wound that medical experts testified would likely have proved fatal on its own. At Rushing’s hearing Thursday afternoon, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell told Jones the state is amending the second-degree murder charge to manslaughter. As part of his plea agreement, Rushing accepted an eight-year prison term.

“I’d like to apologize to the family for taking the life of their loved one,” Rushing said.

Connie Mitchell said Bolton’s family approved the amendment to the charge against Rushing and the agreement reached between the state and defense.

In addition to manslaughter, Rushing also pleaded guilty to furnishing prohibited items while in the Miller County jail. Rushing and another inmate were caught in possession of marijuana and a nail which had been fashioned into a potential stabbing weapon, according to court records. Rushing received an eight-year term of probation in the contraband case which will run concurrently to his prison sentence. Rushing received credit towards his prison term for more than 500 days he spent in jail following his arrest for second-degree murder in December 2015.

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