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Joe Bernard Nowell Sentenced to LWOP in 2018 AR Murder of William Ray Holt
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Thread: Joe Bernard Nowell Sentenced to LWOP in 2018 AR Murder of William Ray Holt

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Legend
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    Joe Bernard Nowell Sentenced to LWOP in 2018 AR Murder of William Ray Holt



    Death penalty still on table

    By Marisa Hicks
    The Log Cabin Democrat

    An Eagle Township resident accused of killing a homeless man under a bridge in rural Faulkner County earlier this year currently faces the death penalty.

    Joe Bernard Nowell, 51, faces capital murder and abuse of a corpse charges following 60-year-old William Ray Holts brutal slaying.

    Holt, a homeless man from Little Rock, was found dead under the East Fork Cadron Creek bridge along Highway 287 during the evening hours of July 24. A juvenile found Holts body, with hist throat slit on both sides and his abdomen splayed open shortly before 8 a.m. on the night in question. Authorities believe the man was out in the water for about 24 hours before being located.

    Last week, 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Luke Ferguson approved felony charges against the 50-year-old suspect, and on Friday, the capital murder suspect appeared in shackles before Circuit Judge Charles Ed Clawson Jr.

    Wearing a black-and-white stripped jumpsuit and orange flip flops, Nowell looked up to attorney Lynn Plemmons as the public defender entered a not guilty plea on his behalf just after 11:20 a.m Friday.

    Given the nature of the charges, a request by Deputy Prosecutor John Hout was made to keep Nowell behind bars without bail.

    Clawson ultimately ruled in favor of the request just before Plemmons addressed the court regarding Nowell potentially facing the death penalty.

    As of Friday, prosecutors had not taken the death option off the table. With the capital punishment on the table, it is likely that Nowells case will instead be represented by other attorneys from within the Arkansas Public Defender Commission.

    The state has not waived the death penalty at this time, Hout confirmed before court officials.

    Plemmons said that for the time being, he would continue representing Nowell.

    However, while it was [his] understanding [prosecutors] do intend to seek the death penalty, Plemmons did not ask to toll speedy trial standards.

    A two-week trial in Nowells case is set to begin in mid-March.

    The Faulkner County Sheriffs Office pinpointed Nowell as the suspect killer after testing his DNA and comparing it to DNA extracted from a hand-rolled cigarette that was found at the crime scene. Prior to comparing the DNA samples, investigators learned Nowell picked up 60-year-old Holt in Little Rock and was having him panhandle money for him locally, according to an affidavit filed against Nowell.

    Holts body was identified via a fingerprint scan at the Arkansas State Crime Lab on July 25. As the investigation continued, authorities learned the 60-year-old homeless man had been living with Nowell at a residence on Berry Gap Lane in eastern Faulkner County.

    The victims body was discovered on a Tuesday evening. Nowell reportedly told authorities he last saw the 60-year-old the Sunday prior to his discovery in the creek.

    While speaking with Eiss at the hospital, investigators learned evidence was burned at Nowells residence on Berry Gap Lane in the Eagle Township, which is about eight and a half miles from where Holts body was found.

    Nowell previously told authorities he last saw Holt on July 22. When he initially spoke with sheriffs deputies, he said he was saved during the church service that night and he and Holt got into an argument over Holts drinking problem.

    According to Nowells statement, Holt packed all his belongings, including $700 and a red wallet, and left walking that night.

    After speaking with others in the area, investigators learned Nowell and Holt had a close relationship.

    A neighbor of Mr. Nowell told investigators that Nowell put up a mail box for Mr. Holt, which we later found to be a requirement to get his Social Security benefits, the affidavit reads in part. In addition, we found that Mr. Nowell helped Holt open an Arvest Bank account in which Mr. Nowell was made power of attorney.

    FCSO also learned Nowell reportedly had a reputation for picking up homeless man and having them collect money for him.

    Jessica Eiss, who is Nowells girlfriend, told police that Holt said he wanted to leave for Branson, Missouri, and that she and Nowell left to drop him off along Highway 65. However, she said the three never made it to Highway 65 before she and Nowell went back to Berry Gap Lane as Nowell attempted to destroy evidence linked to Holts death.

    Holt, according to Eiss statement, wanted to go panhandle in Branson instead of collecting money for Nowell. As the three drove toward Highway 65 on the night in question, the pulled over by the East Fork Cadron Creek along Highway 287.

    Mr. Nowell and Mr. Holt then got out of the vehicle and walked down to the creek and sat on the bank, Eiss recalled. She stated that she had her phone and was looking down at her phone so she doesnt know what happened but that Mr. Nowell came back and got in the vehicle along ... [and] was covered in blood. She stated that they went back to their residence and he rinsed the blood off of his arms using the water hose and then smashed her phone and burned the clothes he was wearing and her phone in a burn pile.

    Nowell is scheduled to appear next at 9 a.m. Jan. 10 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing. His jury trial is set for May 13-24.

    https://www.thecabin.net/news/201811...still-on-table
    Last edited by Steven; 01-22-2022 at 07:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Death case set for 2020

    By Marisa Hicks
    The Log Cabin Democrat

    After 36 years without a single death penalty court case, Faulkner County will now see its second death case within a year and a half of Scotty Ray Gardner’s death verdict.

    Joe Bernard Nowell, 51, faces capital murder and abuse of a corpse charges following 60-year-old William Ray Holt’s brutal 2018 slaying.

    Holt, a homeless man from Little Rock, was found dead under the East Fork Cadron Creek bridge along Highway 287 during the evening hours of July 24. A juvenile found Holt’s body, with his throat “slit on both sides and his abdomen slayed open” shortly before 8 p.m. on the night in question. Authorities believe the man was out in the water for about 24 hours before being located.

    During a November pretrial hearing, deputy prosecutor John Hout said the state had not yet waived it’s right to seek the death penalty against Nowell. On Thursday, Hout formally filed the aggravating circumstances associated with qualifying a capital case as a death penalty case, and a death trial was scheduled for early 2020.

    In Arkansas, a defendant found guilty of capital murder can receive one of two punishments: life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. However, prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty in all capital cases.

    “The death penalty is never an automatic option,” Hout said during Scotty Gardner voire dire -- jury selection -- process.

    Not only are prosecutors required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a capital murder defendant killed the victim premeditated and deliberately, but they must also prove there was at least one aggravating circumstance or factor that contributed to the alleged crime for the case to qualify as a death penalty case.

    At 8:37 a.m. Thursday, a Notice of Aggravating Circumstances that was filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court states the capital case qualifies as a death case because the “capital murder was committed for pecuniary gain; and/or the capital murder was committed in an especially cruel or depraved manner.”

    During the Thursday morning hearing, Katherine S. Streett, who now represents Nowell, requested the previously set May 2019 jury trial be continued to a later date to give her more time to prepare for the death penalty case at hand. Streett was also Gardner’s attorney.

    “I think May is extremely optimistic,” she said.

    Hout did not object to the request, and Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson soon ruled the matter would be moved to January 2020.

    Both the defense and prosecution will meet again in court on August 13 for a pretrial hearing prior to the two-week jury trial, which is set for Jan. 13-17 and will continue Jan. 21-24.

    Online records show that Nowell was pinpointed as the suspect killer in this case after comparing his DNA to DNA that was extracted to a hand-rolled cigarette that was found at the crime scene in July. Prior to comparing the DNA samples, investigators learned Nowell had picked up 60-year-old Holt in Little Rock and was having him panhandle money for him locally.

    Holt’s body was identified via a fingerprint scan at the Arkansas State Crime Lab on July 25. As the investigation continued, authorities learned the 60-year-old homeless man had been living with Nowell at a residence on Berry Gap Lane in eastern Faulkner County.

    The victim’s body was discovered on a Tuesday evening. Nowell reportedly told authorities he last saw the 60-year-old the Sunday prior to his discovery in the creek.

    While speaking with Eiss at the hospital, investigators learned evidence was burned at Nowell’s residence on Berry Gap Lane in the Eagle Township, which is about eight and a half miles from where Holt’s body was found.

    Nowell previously told authorities he last saw Holt on July 22. When he initially spoke with sheriff’s deputies, he said he was saved during the church service that night and he and Holt got into an argument over Holt’s “drinking problem.”

    According to Nowell’s statement, Holt packed all his belongings, including $700 and a red wallet, and left walking that night.

    After speaking with others in the area, investigators learned Nowell and Holt had a close relationship.

    “A neighbor of Mr. Nowell told investigators that Nowell put up a mail box for Mr. Holt, which we later found to be a requirement to get his Social Security benefits,” the affidavit reads in part. “In addition, we found that Mr. Nowell helped Holt open an Arvest Bank account in which Mr. Nowell was made power of attorney.”

    FCSO also learned Nowell reportedly had a reputation for picking up homeless man and having them collect money for him.

    Jessica Eiss, who is Nowell’s girlfriend, told police that Holt said he wanted to leave for Branson, Missouri, and that she and Nowell left to drop him off along Highway 65. However, she said the three never made it to Highway 65 before she and Nowell went back to Berry Gap Lane as Nowell attempted to destroy evidence linked to Holt’s death.

    Holt, according to Eiss’ statement, wanted to go panhandle in Branson instead of collecting money for Nowell. As the three drove toward Highway 65 on the night in question, the pulled over by the East Fork Cadron Creek along Highway 287.

    “Mr. Nowell and Mr. Holt then got out of the vehicle and walked down to the creek and sat on the bank,” Eiss recalled. “She stated that she had her phone and was looking down at her phone so she doesn’t know what happened but that Mr. Nowell came back and got in the vehicle along ... [and] was covered in blood. She stated that they went back to their residence and he rinsed the blood off of his arms using the water hose and then smashed her phone and burned the clothes he was wearing and her phone in a burn pile.”

    https://www.thecabin.net/news/201901...e-set-for-2020
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  3. #3
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    Joe Nowell found guilty of capital murder

    By Jordan Woodson
    Log Cabin Democrat

    Joe Nowell, a Conway man who was arrested back in September of 2018 on the charge of killing a 60-year-old man, was found guilty of capital murder on Thursday, Dec. 9.

    After a three day trial, Nowell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Nowell, who was arrested at the age of 51, was found guilty of killing 60-year-old William “Ray” Holt, a man who was believed to be homeless whose body was found two months prior to Nowell’s arrest in the Cadron Creek off of Highway 287 in Holland.

    “This case represents the conclusion of countless hours of work on behalf of many deputies and investigators at Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office,” the Faulkner County Sheriff’s website said. “We are pleased to have been able to assist in providing justice for the victim in this case.”

    https://www.thecabin.net/news/joe-no...5d2364c6e.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
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