A robbery gone bad has been blamed for the shooting death of a Pine Bluff man Tuesday morning.
George Edward Haney, 47, was shot in the chest when he struggled over a gun with Marcus Halton, 22, while the two were sitting in Haney’s pickup truck, Detective Jeremy Oswalt said during a probable cause hearing for Halton on Friday morning.
Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley pronounced Haney dead at the scene and listed the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the upper body.
The death was the 11th homicide of the year, and the ninth murder. Last year at this time, there had been 15 homicides, 14 of them murders.
Testifying during the hearing, Oswalt said police were sent to the area of 1020 S. Hazel St., at 9:26 a.m. in response to a reported shooting. When they arrived, Oswalt said officers found a white pickup truck pulling a trailer that had hit a parked vehicle in the yard at 1018 S. Hazel St., then collided with bushes in the yard at 1020 S. Hazel St.
Haney was found slumped over in the front seat of the truck with a bloody spot on the lower part of his chest.
Officer Roger Gray, the first officer on the scene, said in a report that Haney was unresponsive and he began CPR until first responders arrived and took over.
In his testimony, Oswalt said a witness saw a black male suspect, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with a slim build and a goatee flee the scene, which police said began at 11th Avenue and Cypress Street where the shooting reportedly occurred.
Oswalt said a second witness came forward and provided additional information that implicated Halton, including Halton allegedly relating details about trying to commit a robbery and the shooting itself. Halton also allegedly told the witness that he and Haney struggled over the gun, and one shot was fired through the roof of the truck before Haney was shot.
Questioned by Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn, Oswalt said the second witness also told police that Halton had used his cell phone to call Haney and asked him to come back after Haney had dropped Halton off at a house in the area of the shooting. A check of Halton’s cell phone showed that the call to Haney’s phone was placed six minutes before the report of shots fired, Oswalt said.
Oswalt also said a check of Haney’s cell phone indicated that the last call received had been from Halton’s cell phone.
At Achorn’s request, Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled that Halton will be held without bond on probable cause of capital murder, pending the filing of formal charges by the prosecutor’s office.
The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Halton.