A 34-year-old Springdale man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday (June 11) to participating in the stabbing death of a woman near Tontitown last month, officials said.
Lewis Hedges is charged with being an accomplice to capital murder, officials said. He entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment before a magistrate judge in a courtroom at the Washington County Detention Center.
Not guilty pleas are common at arraignments to allow a criminal case to proceed in the legal system.
At the arraignment, Hedges was ordered by Judge Ray Reynolds to appear in Circuit Court on August 14.
Leann Frazier’s family was present at the court hearing.
“Just because we’ve laid my sister to rest, we are not giving up on justice,” said Marvin Stout Jr., the victim’s brother. “We will be at ever court to support my sister.”
Frazier’s father, Marvin Stout Sr., said they’ll let the investigation take its course.
“Hopefully convictions is the main thing, closure in a senseless death that should have never happened,” said Marvin Stout Sr.
Hedges, known as “Tony,” was booked into the Washington County Detention Center on May 30 after being transferred from the Cass County Jail in Texas, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities arrested him in Texas after a week-long manhunt.
Hedges had his initial appearance before a magistrate judge at the detention center on May 30 for a routine hearing. He is being held without a bond on the felony charge.
Hedges was arrested May 29 by authorities in Texas following an interstate manhunt when Washington County deputies named him an accomplice in LeAnn Frazier’s May 21 stabbing death.
The other suspect in the killing, 19-year-old Brock Atkins of Tontitown, was arrested May 21 and booked into the Washington County Detention Center on suspicion of capital murder. He appeared before a judge at the detention center and was given a June 23 arraignment date.
Atkins remains in the Washington County jail without bond, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Atkins is accused of stabbing Frazier, 32, in the throat until she was dead during an altercation that centered on drugs, according to court documents.
An arrest warrant for Hedges states he encouraged Atkins to kill Frazier by telling Atkins that Frazier was a “snitch.” Hedges said Frazier could not be trusted.
The warrant also states that Hedges said Frazier had stolen drugs from him. He then held a semi-automatic handgun to Atkins’ head and told Atkins that he needed to kill Frazier, according to court documents.
Atkins later chased Frazier outside and began stabbing her. Hedges blocked the patio door of the residence to prevent others from helping Frazier in any way, according to the warrant.