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story.lead_photo.caption Jason Stewart Jr.

TEXARKANA, Arkansas —A formal charge of murder has been filed in Miller County against a man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend in a Texarkana apartment last month.

Jason Heath Stewart Jr., 19, faces 10 to 40 years or life if found guilty in the March 17 shooting of 20-year-old Kayla Keatts. Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell filed an information formally charging him Monday.

Texarkana, Arkansas, police and emergency medical personnel were called to an apartment in the 1000 block of Locust Street on the day of the shooting, according to a probable cause affidavit. Keatts was found suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head and investigators theorize in the affidavit that she was in lying in bed with her head on a pillow when she was struck.

Stewart's brother allegedly told officers that he was in a bedroom and his brother and Keatts were in another bedroom in their mother's apartment. The brother allegedly said he heard a single gunshot and saw his brother running from the apartment when he went to investigate.

The brother allegedly found Keatts lying in bed and covered in blood.

Stewart's father allegedly told police that his son called him and said, "I'm on the run," before disconnecting the call.

Stewart turned himself in. He allegedly told investigators he was sitting on the edge of the bed in his boxer shorts playing on his Xbox when he noticed Keatts was holding his pistol and it was pointed toward her. Stewart allegedly claimed that the gun went off suddenly when he grabbed it from Keatts.

According to the affidavit, Stewart's account is in conflict with the physical evidence.

Stewart is currently being held in the Miller County jail with bail set at $500,000.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Brent Haltom.

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