Formal charges have been filed against four Pine Bluff men accused in the shooting death of Carol Baker on May 27 at the Lakeview Apartments on West Barraque Street.
Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter charged Kendal Porter, 23, Fitzpatrick Kemp, 39, Michael Rentals, 19, and Samuel Kimmons, 28, with first-degree murder in the death of Baker, 54, who was pronounced dead at the scene of a gunshot wound to the upper body.
Hunter said the four are being charged with felony murder because the death occurred while they were committing a terroristic act, another felony, and that caused the death of Baker “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
The four had been held on probable cause of capital murder but Hunter said that after reviewing the police case file, first-degree murder was the more appropriate charge.
They were arraigned on the charge in Jefferson County District Court on Tuesday morning and bond was set at $500,000 cash-only for each man.
District Judge Kim Bridgforth appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Porter, Kemp and Rentals. Kimmons said he would hire his own attorney.
At a probable cause hearing for Porter, Kemp and Rentals on May 30, Detective Sgt. Bill Wiegand said Baker had gone to the apartments to pick up her grandchildren, had put one of them in her car, and was on the parking lot with the other child and the mother of the children when they were approached by Rentals, who allegedly asked them where “D.W.” was.
A probable-cause affidavit said D.W. is Darius Martin, the brother of the mother of Baker’s grandchildren.
Rentals allegedly told the women that “D.W. had shot up his grandmother’s house” and when the women said D.W. did not live there, Rentals allegedly pulled out a handgun and started shooting, as did several other men who had arrived at the apartment complex in two vehicles.
Also according to the affidavit, when Martin was interviewed, he told officers he had received a call from Porter, who told him that the men had shot up his sister’s house because of the prior shooting incident. Porter was identified by witnesses as one of the people at the scene.
After the shooting, Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said crime scene technicians had recovered shell casings from four different calibers of weapons, and during his testimony, Wiegand said a total of 22 shell casings were recovered from the parking lot of the apartment complex.
Kimmons, the fourth suspect, was arrested in Irving, Texas, on July 4 and was brought back to Pine Bluff on July 10 after waiving extradition. He appeared in court the following day.
His former girlfriend, Danyelle Brown, 22, was arrested July 12 and has been accused of hindering apprehension or prosecution in the case. She is accused of “providing him transportation” out of the city after the shooting.
A second woman, Latasha Howard, 20, was arrested during the early stages of the investigation on the same charge. She was identified as Kemp’s girlfriend and allegedly lied and tried to give him an alibi after her car was identified as one seen at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting.
While a bond has been set for Kimmons and Porter, they will not be able to post those bonds.
Kimmons is being held without bond after petitions were filed to revoke his parole while Porter will be held for a parole violation.
If convicted of first-degree murder, all four men could be sentenced to between 10 and 40 years or life in prison.
The case was assigned to Fifth Division Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis.
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