Three Pine Bluff men accused in the shooting death of a woman Monday night will be held without bond at the adult detention center while prosecutors prepare formal charges against them.
At the end of a court hearing Thursday, Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled that probable cause existed to charge Kendal Porter, 23, Fitzpatrick Kemp, 34, and Michael Rentals, 19, with capital murder in the death of Carol Baker, 54, of Pine Bluff.
The death was the 11th homicide of the year in Jefferson County and the eighth inside the Pine Bluff city limits.
In a related hearing, Kearney ruled that prosecutors had probable cause to charge Latasha Howard, 20, of Pine Bluff with hindering apprehension or prosecution. Howard was identified as the Kemp’s girlfriend of Kemp, and police said that she repeatedly lied to detectives during the early stages of the investigation.
Police are continuing their search for another suspect in the shooting, Samuel Kimmons, 26, who is wanted on probable cause of capital murder.
Testifying at Thursday’s hearing, Detective Sgt. Bill Wiegand said police responded to the Lakeview Apartments at 509 W. Barraque St., at 11:15 p.m. Monday in response to a report of shots fired and a person down.
Chief Deputy Coroner David Westbrook pronounced Baker dead of a gunshot wound to the upper body at 11:47 p.m. on the parking lot of the complex.
Wiegand said Baker had gone to the apartments to pick up her grandchildren, put one of them in her car, and had picked up the other one when she and her grandchildren's mother***, who was not identified, were approached by Rentals, who allegedly asked them where “D.W.” was.
A probable cause affidavit indicated that D.W. is Darius Martin, the brother of the other woman with Baker***.
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 several cars.
The probable cause affidavit said that when Martin was interviewed, he told officers he had received a call from Porter, who allegedly said since Martin had shot the grandmother’s house, the men had “shot up his sister’s house.”
Wiegand said Porter was identified as one of the people at the scene of the shooting.
On Tuesday, Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said crime scene technicians had recovered shell casings from four different calibers of weapons, and testifying Thursday, Wiegand said a total of 22 shell casings were recovered on the parking lot.
Achorn said Rentals has pending charges including four counts of robbery while Porter is on parole and has previous convictions for aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, second-degree battery and theft by receiving. Kemp has no prior convictions or pending charges.
Regarding Howard, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn said she was interviewed after being identified as the owner of a car that was seen at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting.
Detective Jacqueline Stevenson said in a probable-cause affidavit that Howard initially lied and tried to give Kemp an alibi about his whereabouts at the time of the shooting, and also lied about who was driving her white Chevrolet Cobalt that allegedly was used to transport some of the suspects to the apartments.
Howard also received a text message from Kemp telling her “things got crazy and he would explain later,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said in the affidavit that after Howard was arrested, “she decided to tell the truth.”
Kearney set a $10,000 bond for Howard, who said she would hire her own attorney.
Anyone with information about Kimmons should contact the Detective Division at 730-2090 and a reward is available for information that leads to an arrest. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to the department through its website at www.pbpd.org or through its Facebook page. To text a tip to Detectives, text CRIMES, then put “PBPD” with the message.
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***This article has been corrected from its original version because a relationship was described incorrectly. Click here for the correction notice.