Life Plus 15 Years, Jury Issues Sentence In 2020 Texarkana Murder

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TEXARKANA, Ark.–A Miller County jury sentenced a man to life in prison plus 15 years Wednesday in a 2020 drug-related killing.

Justin Howard Petty, 36, was convicted of first-degree murder in the Sept. 29, 2020, shooting death of Billy Eddings. Eddings, 31, was found dead outside his residence on Fairview Street “surrounded by shell casings,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Petty, known as “J.P.” was identified by witnesses as the shooter. He was a fugitive from the time of the killing for months but was apprehended in June 2021.

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Petty and Eddings had been friends but their relationship soured in a dispute over drugs.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said the jury gave Petty a maximum life sentence and a maximum term on an enhancement related to the use of a firearm in commission of the crime.

The 15-year term must be served consecutively to the life sentence though Arkansas law doesn’t provide for parole from a life term.

Petty was represented by public defenders in the 8th Judicial District South of Arkansas.

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