The man accused of stabbing a 32-year-old woman to death last month near Tontitown pleaded not guilty before a magistrate judge on Monday (June 23).
Brock Atkins, 19, is being held without bond on a capital murder charge. At his arraignment before Judge Ray Reynolds, Atkins entered a not guilty plea and was given a trial date of Aug. 20 in Washington County Circuit Court.
At arraignments, not guilty pleas are common to allow the case to proceed in the court system. Suspects who enter a plea other than not guilty also risk losing their right to an appeal.
Meanwhile, the family of LeAnn Frazier, who attended the arraignment on Monday, told 5NEWS they are calling for the death penalty for Atkins and for suspected accomplice Lewis Hedges.
Marvin Stout Jr. said the two suspects acted as “judge and executioner” in killing his sister and should receive the death penalty for that.
The death penalty can be applied to people convicted of capital murder and being an accomplice to capital murder, said John Threet, Washington County prosecuting attorney. No determination has been made on whether the office will seek the death penalty against either suspect.
Hedges, 34, of Springdale pleaded not guilty at his June 11 arraignment to a charge of being an accomplice to capital murder, officials said. At the arraignment, Hedges was ordered by Reynolds to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on August 14.
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 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 Frazier’s May 21 stabbing death.
Atkins, who was arrested May 21, is accused of stabbing Frazier 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.