A jury of five men and seven women heard testimony from a number of witnesses Tuesday in the murder trial of a man accused of stabbing a friend to death last year in Texarkana, Arkansas.
Cameron Scott Halliburton, 29, known to his friends as Fishman, is accused in the Nov. 26, 2017, death of Jarrod Klein. Klein, 27, was found dead behind the wheel of his Chevy Colorado truck in the early morning hours that day by a Texarkana, Ark., police officer responding to a 911 call regarding a wreck.
In opening statements, Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett laid out the state’s case for the jury. Barrett said Halliburton and Klein were good friends who spent a lot of time together but that for whatever reason, Halliburton had stabbed his friend to death. Managing Public Defender Jason Mitchell asked the jury to remember the word “Why” and consider what small questions the state can’t answer in its case.
Texarkana, Ark., Police Officer Marcus Luna testified that he thought he was responding to a single vehicle accident near the Family Dollar Store on 9th Street when he found Klein’s pickup up against a tree but that he quickly realized he was dealing with something much more serious when he discovered the driver’s lifeless body behind the wheel.
Luna testified under questioning from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson that Klein was clearly dead and in rigor when he arrived. Luna said he contacted his shift supervisor and secured the crime scene as he waited for the on-call detective, Holly Smith, and crime scene investigator Eric Winters to arrive.
Smith testified that the truck was resting against a tree and that tracks showed it had traveled through the Family Dollar parking lot from Jefferson Avenue and crossed over a curb onto Linden Street before stopping. Smith said video surveillance footage from the store showed the truck cross through the parking lot and out of view. Just a short time later Halliburton stumbles into view from the same direction as the truck had come and attempts to open the door of the store.
A receipt for pizza from Flying J Truck Stop found in the truck by Winters led Smith to collect video from Nov. 25, 2017, from the truck stop. The video showed a woman taking the pizza after it is purchased by a trucker. The woman in the video, Dequeener Mitchell, regularly visited the truck stop to panhandle and was interviewed by detectives Nov. 26, 2017.
Dequeener Mitchell testified that Klein had driven her to the truck stop earlier in the day and that she, Klein, Halliburton and others had shared the pizza and socialized at her apartment that day. Dequeener Mitchell testified that Halliburton always carried a knife and that he had used it on Nov. 25, 2017, to cut up a piece of paper in her apartment. Dequeener Mitchell testified that she and her visitors used synthetic marijuana that day.
Dequeener Mitchell agreed to show Texarkana, Ark., Detectives Wayne Easley and Jason Haak the apartment of a friend where she thought Halliburton might be staying. Easley testified that Halliburton was not in Andrew Glenn’s apartment but he was found outside, sleeping behind a dumpster.
Glenn testified that Halliburton had shown up at his apartment at approximately 3 a.m. the morning of Nov. 26, 2017, and seemed distraught. Glenn said Halliburton slept in his apartment for a few hours but left after Glenn told him he had to go to work.
As Glenn was walking from the witness stand after testifying he looked at Halliburton sitting at the defense table and said, “Good luck in prison.” The comment led Jason Mitchell to object and move for a mistrial after Circuit Judge Carlton Jones removed the jury from the courtroom.
Jones told Glenn that his conduct would not be tolerated and that he would be spending 24 hours in jail. Glenn, 22, apologized and told Jones he could lose his job if he didn’t show up for work. Jones asked Glenn his age and agreed to allow Glenn to complete 30 hours of community service through the probation department instead of jail. Jones denied Jason Mitchell’s request for a mistrial but did instruct the jury to disregard anything they might have heard Glenn say when he was not on the stand.
Pathologist Stephen Erickson told the jury that Klein was stabbed 10 times. Erickson said that one stab wound to Klein’s face wasn’t fatal but would probably have cost him his left eye.
A stab wound to Klein’s chest which cut his aorta and caused massive internal bleeding in his chest cavity was fatal and would have left him unresponsive after just a minute or two. Erickson testified that seven stab wounds to Klein’s neck were most likely inflicted after he had become unresponsive from being stabbed in the chest.
Easley testified that when he and Detective Jason Haak found Halliburton sleeping behind the dumpster at Glenn’s apartment, they noticed that he was wearing the same clothing as in the Family Dollar video and that the sleeve of his coat appeared to have blood on it. Portions of interviews with Halliburton at the Bi-State Justice Center were played for the jury as Easley testified.
Easley said Halliburton claimed at first that Klein had dropped him off on Elizabeth Street at around midnight and denied knowing where Klein might be. Easley said Halliburton’s story changed several times during several interviews with Halliburton blaming others for Klein’s murder. In the last interview, Halliburton tells the detectives that he has told another friend who killed Klein.
Curtis Flowers testified that Halliburton did come to his home in the early hours of Nov. 26, 2017, and that he told him he had killed Klein. Flowers said Halliburton told him that Klein had woken him up from sleep in a hotel room by punching him.
Easley was the last witness to testify Tuesday. He is expected to undergo more questioning Wednesday morning by the defense.
If found guilty of murder Halliburton faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison.