TEXARKANA, Ark. — A man sentenced to life by a Miller County jury in 2018 for the stabbing death of a close friend was denied a new trial last week by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Cameron Scott "Fishman" Halliburton, 30, was found guilty in November 2018 of first-degree murder in the Nov. 26, 2017, death of 27-year-old Jarrod Klein.
Klein, 27, was found still belted in behind the wheel of his Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck in the early morning hours of Nov. 26, 2017, by a Texarkana, Arkansas, police officer responding to a call concerning a possible one-vehicle wreck. The pickup was in park, the keys were missing and it had come to rest against a tree. Texarkana, Arkansas, detectives testified that the truck traveled from the direction of Jefferson Avenue and across the parking lot of Family Dollar Store on Ninth Street before jumping a curb onto Linden Street, crossing it and hitting the tree.
The jury was shown surveillance video from the Family Dollar that showed the truck roll across the parking lot, nearly missing the building, about 1:30 a.m. Approximately 10 minutes later Halliburton stumbles into the camera's view in the parking lot. Halliburton appears unsteady on his feet as he pulls at the store's door and then walks off.
Klein had been stabbed a total of 10 times. Seven stabs wounds to Klein's neck were inflicted after he had suffered a fatal wound to his chest that caused massive internal bleeding and a rapid loss of consciousness. His body was found at about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 26, 2017.
Using a receipt found in the truck, investigators were able to track down friends who had socialized with Halliburton and Klein earlier in the day. When they found Halliburton sleeping behind a Dumpster at a small Texarkana, Texas, apartment complex not far from the site of the crash, Halliburton was wearing the same clothes as in the surveillance video.
The knife sheath on Halliburton's belt, which usually held a filet knife, was empty. The murder weapon and Klein's truck keys were never recovered. Experts testified that blood on the sleeve of Halliburton's jacket was Klein's.
Among the issues complained of by Halliburton in his appeal are that the trial court erred by denying a motion to suppress his statement to police, by failing to grant a mistrial because of a witness' outburst, by failing to dismiss a first-degree murder charge and by excluding the testimony of a proposed defense witness.
The state's highest court found that Halliburton's statement to Texarkana, Arkansas, detectives was voluntary and given after he'd been properly warned of his Miranda rights. They rejected Halliburton's argument that he was in a "drug-induced stupor" from smoking synthetic marijuana as well.
Halliburton argued he should get a new trial because a statement made by a witness as he walked from the witness stand following his testimony unfairly prejudiced the jury.
"Good luck in prison," the witness said as he passed the defense table on his way to the courtroom exit.
While Halliburton's trial lawyer heard the witness, neither the prosecutor or Circuit Judge Carlton Jones did. The jury box is located to the right of the prosecution's table in Miller County's courtroom and farther away from where the witness was when he spoke than the judge. The higher court ruled that the statement is not grounds for a new trial.
Halliburton argued that the jury should have heard testimony from a friend of his who would point to someone else as Klein's killer. A Texarkana, Ark., detective testified that the defense's theory had been disproven and after hearing from the defense's proposed witness, Jones excluded him from taking the stand. The higher court agreed with Jones, finding the testimony was irrelevant.
Halliburton is being held in a unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction in Gould, Arkansas. In Arkansas, there is no possibility of parole from a life sentence.