TEXARKANA, Ark. — Prosecutors in Miller County announced this week that they will not seek the death penalty for an 18-year-old accused in a shooting that left two dead and a third suffering from a gunshot wound while a child slept in a nearby bedroom.
Justin Dalton Wilson appeared with Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson for arraignment Tuesday before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom. Harrelson entered pleas of not guilty on Wilson's behalf to two counts of capital murder and single counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and attempted capital murder.
Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett said at the hearing that her office does not intend to seek death for Wilson. A defendant's age and lack of criminal history are factors prosecutors consider when making such decisions. Wilson faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder.
Wilson is accused in the Aug. 28 deaths of Scott Wiegmann, 45, and Reginald Davis, 37, and of attempted capital murder in the shooting of 25-year-old Lajhonta Collier. A charge of aggravated assault stems from the risk the shooting created for Collier's 7-year-old child sleeping in a nearby room in apartment 52 of a complex in the 2000 block of 24th Street in Texarkana, Arkansas, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Collier allegedly told investigators who interviewed him at a local hospital on the night of the shooting that he, Wilson, Wiegmann and Davis were gambling. Wilson, who was allegedly under the influence of Xanax, reportedly became angry at losing, "began blaming everyone there," and pulled out a gun and shot the three victims.
Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety which has become a common drug of abuse.
Wilson allegedly took all of Collier's money and the winnings from Davis. Those allegations are at the root of an aggravated robbery charge also levied against Wilson.
The documents charging Wilson include two punishment enhancement paragraphs. Prosecutors are seeking to enhance Wilson's punishment by up to 15 years for use of a firearm. Any term imposed for use of the firearm must be served consecutively to any term assessed for the underlying crime.
Prosecutors are seeking to enhance Wilson's punishment by up to 10 years for committing the crimes in the presence of a child. Any term imposed for commission of a crime in the presence of a child must be served consecutively to any term assessed for the underlying offense.
Attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery are both punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Aggravated assault is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Wilson is currently being held in the Miller County jail with bail set at $1 million. Haltom scheduled Wilson for a March jury trial.