Second man charged in Monday homicide


A second suspect has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Brian Almond, 34, and injuries to a second man Monday night.

Will Johnston, 33, was identified as a person who was with Michael Kelley, 38, at the time Almond and Clayton Hodges, 34, were shot at 107 Wildwood Cove, according to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Jacqueline Stevenson that was sent to prosecutors Tuesday.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau said Thursday both Johnston and Kelley have been formally charged with one count of capital murder and one count of attempted capital murder with no bond possible.

The affidavit said Johnston “was with Mr. Kelley when this homicide/shooting took place. They were in Mr. Johnston’s girlfriend’s vehicle.

“After the homicide/shooting both Mr. Kelley and Mr. Johnston fled to Memphis, Tenn., in Mr. Johnston’s girlfriend’s vehicle where they were later taken into custody,” Stevenson said in the affidavit.

She also said Johnston and Kelley went to Hodges’ residence “with the intent to rob him of his money and dope.”

Kelley and Johnston had waived extradition and were being brought back to the county, Sheriff’s Office Operations Commander and Public Information Officer Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. said Thursday afternoon. They are expected to appear in court Friday morning.

Almond, of Rison, was pronounced dead at the scene by Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley (no relation to Michael Kelley) while Hodges, of Pine Bluff, was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center for treatment of what police said were gunshot wounds to the forearm and chest.

According to the initial police report, Hodges was found lying on the ground in front of the residence and told police a Michael Kelley, also known as Little Buddy, had shot him.

Hodges also told police he thought his friend, Almond, had been shot, and when police entered the house, they found Almond lying on the living room floor with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the face. A small black semiautomatic handgun was also found on the floor of the house.

The Commercial’s online edition for Feb. 28 said Michael Kelley was one of several people arrested during a drug sting operation at a motel on Rhinehart Road and the drug involved was methamphetamine.

On Monday an order dismissing charges the that had been filed against Michael Kelley after the sting was filed with the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s Office. That order was filed several hours before the reported shooting and was signed by Circuit Judge Jody Raines Dennis. The charges were: simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance methamphetamine or cocaine, more than two grams but less than 10 grams, illegal use of a communication facility and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Almond’s death was the third homicide in Jefferson County in less than a week, the 11th of the year. Nine of those have been in Pine Bluff.