More details emerge in hostage situation at Jefferson Comprehensive Care


A Pine Bluff man accused of taking two women hostage and beating one of them at Jefferson Comprehensive Care on Thursday will have to post a $250,000 bond to be released from the county detention center while prosecutors prepare multiple felony charges against him.

After a court hearing Friday, Jefferson County district Judge Kim Bridgforth set the bond after ruling that prosecutors had probable cause to charge William Brown, 27, with two counts of terroristic threatening, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of second-degree battery and one count of attempted escape.

In addition to beating one of the women, Brown allegedly took a pair of scissors and cut the hair of a second woman while holding both in an examination room at the center.

The incident began just after noon Thursday when Brown, who had been seen by staff at the center Tuesday, returned without an appointment for a followup on his treatment.

Detective Brad Vilches reported that nurse practitioner Karen McPherson took Brown into an examination room and asked nurse Phyllis Martin to assist.

According to the probable cause affidavit, when Brown and the two nurses were in the room, Brown shut the door, pulled what later was determined to be a toy gun from his pants, then hit Martin in the stomach and told her to face the wall.

Brown allegedly told McPherson to sit in a chair and, according to the affidavit, asked McPherson “what part of her body she valued the most.”

McPherson said “her hair” and Brown allegedly got a pair of scissors and cut more than three-quarters of McPherson’s hair before punching Martin several more times in the face and body, according to Vilches.

Vilches also reported that Brown put two containers of what he said was C-4 explosive by the door, telling McPherson and Martin that he was “going to blow up the building” and “you’re all going to die.”

Brown also allegedly told McPherson and Martin to go and get other staff members and bring them to the room, but they refused.

On Thursday, Lt. JoAnn Bates said Lt. Lance Lawhon, the department’s SWAT team commander, was the first officer to arrive at the center about 30 seconds after the initial call and arrested Brown with assistance from other officers.

Vilches reported that when Lawhon and the other officers arrived, they could hear Brown yelling through the door and when they entered the room, Brown sat down and on the floor. McPherson and Martin told police Brown had a gun in his lap and when he was taken into custody, the gun was determined to be a toy.

Martin was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where she was treated for what police said were “non-life threatening injuries.”

When a crime scene technician arrived, she started to take Brown’s coat when he stood up and started to run, Vilches reported. Vilches and Detective Bill Wiegand caught Brown at the end of the hall and he reportedly resisted, swinging and hitting the detectives before they were able to get handcuffs on him.

Brown also tried to escape a second time when officers were walking him out of the building but officers were able to hold on to him without further incident, Vilches said.

In addition to setting the bond, Bridgforth ordered Brown to have no contact with McPherson or Martin until the case is settled, and told him to come back to court April 5.