A third jury was selected Monday to decide the case of a man accused of fatally shooting another man over a parking spot at a Texarkana, Ark., gas station in September 2015.
Marvin Arrell Stanton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison following a trial in May 2016. That conviction was overturned later by an appellate court and sent back to Miller County circuit court for a new trial. A second jury was seated in August 2018 but the proceedings ended with a mistrial.
Monday a jury of nine women and three men was chosen to hear the case. Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett told the jury in opening statements that Stanton, a man who stands about 5feet 11 inches and weighs approximately 340 pounds, thought he could intimidate 22-year-old Jesse Hamilton, a man of about the same height but half the weight.
Hamilton and two friends, Sanmarcos Jacobs and Lavon Strong, had stopped at the at the Raceway gas station on State Line Ave. in Texarkana, Ark. They intended to use the restroom, parking in an area near but not directly in front of the gas pumps in the north side of the parking lot. The three men were in Hamilton's truck, about to pull out, when Stanton entered the parking lot on a motorcycle, Barrett said.
Stanton is now 53. He was 48 at the time of the shooting.
Stanton's three companions pulled their bikes to the front of the store, but Stanton pulled up next to Hamilton and allegedly said, "Move your (expletive) truck."
Witnesses at Stanton's first trial testified that he boasted of being a former Marine and lifted his shirt to show he had a handgun holstered at his hip. Stanton allegedly shoved Hamilton into the side of his truck and was surprised when Hamilton came up swinging and got the better of the larger man.
Barrett told the jury that Stanton fired after the fight was over.
One of Stanton's lawyers, Natalie Dixon of Little Rock, said in her opening statement that Stanton shot Hamilton in self-defense. Dixon told the jury that Stanton had but a "split-second" to make the decision and that he believed his life was in danger.
After shooting Hamilton in the gut, Stanton did not leave the scene and did attempt to render aid, Dixon said.
The jury heard from several witnesses Monday afternoon.
Jacobs testified that he, Hamilton and Strong got out of Hamilton's truck after Stanton yelled. Jacobs said Stanton shoved Hamilton hard into the side of his truck before the two began fighting.
Jacobs said he told a woman who tried to pull Hamilton away to stay out of the fight. Jacobs said it appeared the fight was over when Stanton raised his gun and pulled the trigger.
On cross-examination by Little Rock lawyer Jeff Rosenzweig, Jacobs testified that he has served time for burglary and deadly conduct.
Testimony is expected to continue before Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson at the Miller County courthouse Tuesday. If found guilty of murder, Stanton faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison.