A Pine Bluff man who allegedly stabbed a woman to death and seriously injured her female relative early Friday morning will be held without bond while prosecutors prepare multiple felony charges against him.
Kevin McMiller, 20, is accused of stabbing Shirley Owney, 39, during an altercation inside an apartment at 21st Avenue and Poplar Street.
Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley said Chief Deputy Coroner David Westbrook pronounced Owney dead at 4:23 a.m. and her body was sent to the State Crime Laboratory at Little Rock for an autopsy.
Owney’s death was the fifth homicide this year and the third this month. The death of a sixth person, Roger Bohannon Jr., on March 9 was classified as suspicious and the state medical examiner’s office has not released an official ruling on that yet.
During a court hearing Friday, police Detective Bill Wiegand said he was contacted at about 4 a.m., and told that a second victim, who was identified as Owney’s female relative, whose 16th birthday was Friday, was being held hostage by McMiller in an abandoned house at 1006 W. 21st Ave., about two blocks from where Owney was killed.
Wiegand, who is a trained hostage negotiator, went to the house where he found Lt. Bob Rawlinson, also a hostage negotiator, talking to McMiller, who was reportedly sitting on the floor of a bathroom with his back to the wall, with the girl sitting between his legs with a knife to her throat.
Rawlinson said he had established a dialogue with McMiller after talking for about an hour, and McMiller reportedly agreed to release the girl, who was naked and bleeding from both arms, if police would get her some clothing.
Wiegand took over the negotiations while Rawlinson made arrangements to get the girl’s clothes, and after those were obtained, McMiller allowed the girl to get dressed, then laid the knife by his side and was handcuffed without incident by Rawlinson, Wiegand, and Detective Sgt. David DeFoor.
Police were able to locate McMiller and the girl after following a blood trail from the apartment on Poplar Street to the abandoned house, which had also been burned.
Wiegand said McMiller and the girl had previously dated, but had broken up, and McMiller reportedly walked from his house on Jonquil Street in the Shady Grove area to the apartment at 21st Avenue and Poplar Street, then stood outside the window of the girl’s bedroom about two hours, making threatening phone calls and sending text messages to the girl. He also reportedly brought the knife he used with him when he left his house.
At some point, Owney got on the phone and shortly after that, McMiller allegedly broke the bedroom window and jumped in the room, cutting the girl on both arms.
Wiegand said Owney and the female relative tried to flee the apartment but McMiller pulled the door closed, locked it, and then allegedly stabbed Owney in the upper body, causing her death.
After dragging the girl out of the apartment and taking her to the abandoned house, Wiegand said McMiller sexually assaulted her before police found them.
Also testifying Friday, Capt. Greg Shapiro said Owney’s body was discovered after an upstairs neighbor smelled smoke coming from downstairs, then heard a fire alarm, and when they were unable to contact Owney, called the fire department who entered the apartment and extinguished a small fire that resulted from the kitchen stove catching fire because Owney was cooking something when she was attacked.
Police said Owney’s body was found face down on the kitchen floor, she was unresponsive and not breathing when fire department personnel found her.
Rawlinson said Friday the girl, whose name is not being released, was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, then to a Little Rock hospital where she was being treated.
At the request of Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth ruled prosecutors had probable cause to charge McMiller with one count of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, one count of first-degree domestic battery, one count of aggravated residential burglary, one count of terroristic threatening, one count of kidnapping, and three counts of rape.
When Bridgforth asked McMiller about an attorney, he told her it “doesn’t matter,” then mumbled words that sounded like “send me to the electric chair.”
McMiller’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 18 in Jefferson County District Court.