Drive-by Shooting Suspects Make First Court Appearance

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A man and woman arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting last week in Tontitown made their first appearance in court on Monday (Aug.26).

Austin Wenger and Stacie Chicken appeared at the Washington County Detention Center before Magistrate Ray Reynolds at 8.1 hearings, in which suspects are told why they are being held and are read their rights.

Wenger and Chicken were ordered to appear again before the magistrate for Sept. 25 arraignments to enter a plea on the charges against them. (Wenger is seen here appearing before Reynolds on Monday at the Detention Center.)

Wenger was arrested by Washington County Sheriff deputies at 4:11 a.m. on Aug. 24 and booked in the Washington County Detention Center later that day, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Wenger faces two charges 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, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The affidavit states Wenger fired three shots at his pregnant girlfriend at 10:31 a.m. 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.

Chicken, 23, was also arrested and booked in the detention center and faces a felony charge of hindering apprehension for being the driver of the car that picked Wenger up from the residence and from which he fired the shots, the affidavit states. The police report says Wenger was driving the car when the shots were fired.

The affidavit states Wenger got into an argument with his girlfriend, Keshia Gregory, on Thursday 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 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.

Police said Wenger shot at a man during a transaction over vehicle wheels and tires, in that incident.