Tontitown Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
A man arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting last month in Tontitown pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday (Sept. 25)
Austin Wenger, 20, was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies on Aug. 24 and booked in the Washington County Detention Center later that day, according to the sheriff’s office. (He is seen here standing before a judge last month at the detention center for his initial court appearance.)
On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty before a magistrate at the detention center. Not guilty pleas are customary at arraignments to allow the case to proceed in the legal system.
Wenger is charged with two counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault and single charges of terroristic threatening, second-degree domestic battery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and interference with a communication device, records show.
He is scheduled to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on Nov. 25.
A court document states Wenger fired three shots at his pregnant girlfriend on Aug. 22 at her residence on the 1500 block of Arbor Acres Avenue in Tontitown. The woman’s 6-month-old baby was in a car seat on the porch when Wenger fired three shots from a car as he left the scene, the affidavit states.
The affidavit states Wenger got into an argument with his girlfriend, Keshia Gregory, that escalated after Gregory told Wenger to leave the residence. Gregory told officers that Wenger grabbed her around the throat and later stepped on her 6-month-old infant’s head when he rushed to prevent her from calling her mother for help, the affidavit states.
Gregory told Wenger her family was on the way to her house and he produced two handguns and placed one against her head and said he was going to kill her, the affidavit said. Gregory said she pleaded with Wenger for her life and that of their unborn baby, and she said Wenger told her, “I’ll kill both of you,” the affidavit said.
At this point, a silver car pulled up in the driveway that Gregory said was driven by Stacie Chicken, the affidavit states. Wenger got behind the wheel, and Gregory said she thought he fired three shots at her as he left the residence, the affidavit states.
Gregory said she was unsure how many shots were fired because she was running to protect her infant who was in a car seat on the front porch, the affidavit states.
Wenger pleaded guilty in February in a shooting from 2012 in which no one was injured. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief, receiving a three-year suspended prison sentence, along with credit of 96 days served in jail, according to court documents.
Also on Wednesday (Sept. 25), Trevor Lee of Springdale, accused of being an accomplice of Wenger’s and others in burglaries during August, pleaded not guilty before a magistrate at the Washington County Detention Center. Lee is charged with theft of property, burglary, engaging in continuing gang activity and two counts of possession of firearms.
He is set to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on Nov. 25.