Pine Bluff Police Deparment Detective Bill Wiegand (left), leaves the witness stand as capital murder suspect Markell Crater is escorted out of court after Wiegand testified at a probable-cause hearing for Crater on Wednesday at the Jefferson County Courthouse. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)
Capital murder suspect Markell Crater sits on a bench as he awaits a probable-cause hearing Wednesday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
A 19-year-old Pine Bluff man who is a suspect in a January homicide will be held without bond at the county detention center after a court hearing Wednesday.
Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth ruled that prosecutors had probable cause to charge Markell Crater with capital murder in the Jan. 3 shooting death of 20-year-old Roy Haltiwanger.
The slaying was the first of the year in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.
During the court hearing, Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Bill Wiegand said a confidential informant called police Feb. 1 and reported that that they had watched Crater stand in the middle of the street in front of 316 E. 21st Ave. and shoot Haltiwanger several times.
Haltiwanger was found between two houses at 314 and 316 E. 21st Ave. after police received a call of shots fired and a man down. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by a doctor in the Emergency Room at 4:12 p.m.
The cause of death was listed as multiple gunshot wounds, according to a report from the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
In a probable-cause affidavit, Detective Brad Vilches reported that the witness heard “nine or 10 gunshots,” and saw no one else at the scene firing shots.
Multiple shell casings were recovered from the street and sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory at Little Rock, police said at the time of the shooting.
After the shooting, Crater left the scene driving a white Cadillac, according to police.
Crater is on probation on charges of residential burglary and criminal mischief, and has residential burglary charges pending.
In addition, he is accused of theft by receiving after police recovered a car that had been reported stolen in Texas at a house in the Dollarway area with Crater allegedly behind the wheel. The car was tracked through the vehicle’s GPS system and police reported that when Crater was questioned, he said he bought the car, a Cadillac, for $200.
He has also been accused of two counts of aggravated assault stemming from an incident on Jan. 28 at West 25th Avenue and Oak Street in which he allegedly pointed a gun at two man. When he was interviewed by police, Crater denied any involvement, telling police he had been in Texas at the time.
Formal charges have not been filed in either of those incidents.
Crater is also being held without bond for Texas authorities.
During the court appearance Wednesday, Crater said he would hire his own attorney and was told to come back to court March 20.