Men plead not guilty to capital murder

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Two men accused of fatally shooting another in the course of a robbery Feb. 3 entered pleas of not guilty to capital murder this week in Miller County.

Keanu White, 22, and Jucquian Tyson, 23, are accused of shooting Phillip Lee, 23, at a local apartment complex and of taking several thousand dollars believed to have been in Lee’s pockets.

Tyson appeared via video from the Miller County jail before Circuit Court Judge Kirk Johnson with Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson. Harrelson entered a plea of not guilty for Tyson and the case is set for a pretrial hearing next month.

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White appeared before Johnson via video from the jail with Managing Public Defender Jason Mitchell. Mitchell entered a not guilty plea for White and noted that a request to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission to appoint a lawyer to represent Tyson in his capital murder case.

Prosecutors have not announced whether they will seek the death penalty for White and Tyson. Capital murder is punishable by death or life without parole.

Lee was found suffering from three gunshot wounds in front of his residence at the Village South Apartments in Texarkana, Ark., on the morning of Feb. 3. He died that afternoon in a local hospital.
According to a probable cause affidavit, investigators believe Lee had been in possession of $3,000 to $4,000 and that the money was stolen from him after he was shot. Lee was shot in his left wrist, his side and in the chest.

Court records show Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black filed informations Monday charging both White and Tyson with capital murder in Lee’s death.

Bail for both men is set at $500,000. However, even if they could post bond they would not be released because of other pending cases.
Court records show that White was placed on a five-year probation for robbery in October. Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black filed a motion to revoke White’s probation which is pending.

At the time of the shooting, Tyson was free on a $100,000 bond on a robbery he was arrested for in Miller County last April. A motion to revoke Tyson’s bond in that case was granted.

Records also show that Tyson, White and Lee were once all charged as co-defendants in a case related to the burglary of a local pawn shop but the charges were later dismissed.

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