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Thread: Charges Against Rico Tavarous Cohn Dropped in 2006 AR Slaying of Nina Ingram

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    Charges Against Rico Tavarous Cohn Dropped in 2006 AR Slaying of Nina Ingram


    Nina Ingram


    Rico Cohn


    Trial Reset For Man Accused Of Killing Fayetteville Woman

    A jury trial scheduled to begin Monday (March 10) for Rico Tavarous Cohn, accused of strangling a 21-year-old Fayetteville woman to death in 2006, will be reset to start at an undetermined future date, officials said.

    Cohn’s lawyers said evidence that hasn’t been tested needs to undergo DNA testing and analysis, which cannot be completed by March 10, according to a motion filed March 7 in Washington County Circuit Court.

    Those items of evidence, which were confirmed Jan. 24, 2014, are now undergoing testing, according to the motion submitted by Cohn’s public defender, Tony Pirani.

    The motion asks that the trial date not be rescheduled for at least three months.

    Circuit Judge William Storey will reschedule set a trail date soon, court officials said.

    Cohn is accused of strangling Nina Ingram to death in her Fayetteville apartment. At his arraignment in June 2012, he pleaded not guilty to a capital-murder charge.

    Ingram, a business student at NorthWest Arkansas Community Colllege, was found strangled April 22, 2006, in her apartment at what then was known as the Law Quad Apartments at 701 W. Sycamore St. The complex is now called Club At The Creek.

    One of her brothers and his friend found her body after they crawled through an unlocked window, police said. They went to the apartment to check on Ingram after the family couldn’t reach her by phone.

    Despite continued investigating by police, Ingram’s killing had gone unsolved for six years. In April 2012, a new detective was assigned to work solely on solving the case, after which police arrested Cohn in connection with Ingram’s death, court records show.

    Cohn told police he was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex at the time of Ingram’s death, although they said he might have been lying to create an alibi for being at the location, according to court documents.

    Court documents state the suspect said he would not take a plea deal under any circumstances, saying he’s innocent in Ingram’s death. If found guilty, Cohn could face the death penalty, according to court documents.

    Click here to read more on the murder case.


    http://5newsonline.com/2014/03/07/tr...teville-woman/
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    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Accused Killer Remains In Jail On 8th Anniversary Of Student’s Death

    Tuesday marked the eighth anniversary of the strangling death of NWACC student Nina Ingram, whose accused killer remains in jail awaiting trial, according to court records.

    Ingram, a business student at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, was discovered dead in 2006 in her home at what was then known as the Law Quad Apartments on Sycamore Street in Fayetteville.

    Despite continued investigation by police, Ingram’s killing went unsolved for six years. A new detective was assigned to work solely on the case in April 2012, after which police arrested Rico Cohn in connection with Ingram’s death.

    Cohn remains in the Washington County Detention Center awaiting his capital murder trial. The trial has been delayed several times for various reasons, including to determine whether Cohn is mentally fit to stand trial.

    Cohn was declared mentally fit in December following an examination by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, according to documents from the agency.

    Most recently, Cohn’s March 10 trial was pushed back to July 14 to allow for more DNA testing and analysis in the case, according to a motion filed March 7 in Washington County Circuit Court. Those items of evidence, which were confirmed Jan. 24, 2014, are now undergoing testing, according to the motion submitted by Cohn’s public defender, Tony Pirani.

    Police said one of Ingram’s brothers and his friend found her body after they crawled through an unlocked window, police said. They went to the apartment to check on Ingram after the family couldn’t reach her by phone, according to police records.

    Cohn told police he was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex at the time of Ingram’s death, although they said he might have been lying to create an alibi for being at the location, according to court documents.

    Court documents state the suspect said he would not take a plea deal under any circumstances, saying he’s innocent in Ingram’s death. If found guilty, Cohn could face the death penalty, according to court documents.

    http://5newsonline.com/2014/04/22/ac...tudents-death/

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    Cohn Trial In Ingram Murder Delayed Again

    The capital murder trial for a man accused of killing a woman almost eight years ago has been delayed again.

    Rico Tavarous Cohn, 28, is charged in connection with capital murder in the death of Nina Ingram, who was a 21-year-old college student. Ingram was found strangled inside her Sycamore Street apartment April 22, 2006. Cohn was arrested and charged after police reopened the case in 2012.

    Washington County Circuit Judge William Storey continued the case Monday at the request of the defense. The case is now set for Oct. 20.

    Cohn, who could face the death penalty if convicted, was found mentally fit to stand trial, but the defense was still having evidence independently analyzed.

    After six years of having no leads, Fayetteville police decided to take another look at the cold case, examining facts and interviewing several witnesses and at least three confidential informants. New information, including DNA evidence, came to light implicating Cohn, according to police.

    Matt Durrett, chief deputy prosecuting attorney, said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Cohn. Cohn has been in the Washington County Detention Center without bond since his arrest June 6, 2012.

    http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2014/j...ed-aga/?latest
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    Fayetteville murder trial for Cohn reset to August

    The capital murder trial of a man accused in the 2006 death of Nina Ingram has been reset to August by Washington County Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay.

    Rico Tavarous Cohn, 28, is charged in the death of Ingram, who was a 21-year-old University of Arkansas student. Ingram was found strangled inside her Sycamore Street apartment April 22, 2006. Cohn was arrested and charged after Fayetteville police reopened the case in 2012.

    Cohn repeatedly has denied killing Ingram. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty. Cohn has been in the Washington County Jail without bond since his arrest June 6, 2012.

    The case has been reset multiple times to allow for independent testing of some evidence. The trial had been set to begin Feb. 23 but will now begin Aug. 12 and could run through Aug. 21.

    After six years of having no leads, Fayetteville police decided to take another look at the cold case. They examined facts and interviewed several witnesses and at least three confidential informants. New information, including DNA evidence, came to light implicating Cohn, according to police.

    Police said they believe Ingram was targeted after she rebuffed Cohn and others who made inappropriate comments to her as she left her apartment. That incident was about a week before Ingram was killed.

    A confidential informant said Cohn was upset because Ingram thought she was too good for him, police said. Cohn told several informants details of the crime scene known only to police, and he told one of them he killed Ingram, according to police.

    Tony Pirani, Cohn's defense attorney, contends testing of DNA from Ingram's jacket has been inconclusive and further testing is needed. He also said further testing could produce offender DNA that could clear Cohn.

    Pirani also sought testing of some evidence he sees as critical to the case that had not been tested at the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

    Doctors at the Arkansas State Hospital found no indication Cohn suffers from mental impairment or mental disease, and they determined he is fit to stand trial. Cohn told the doctors he did not want to pursue a mental disease or defect defense and declined to provide information that would substantiate an acquittal by reason of insanity, according to the report. Admitting guilt is a requirement of a mental defense.

    "The state is accusing me of breaking and entering and strangling someone to death, which is totally untrue," Cohn is quoted as telling doctors. "I do feel for what their family is going through, but their pain was not caused by me."

    Ingram was last seen just before midnight April 21, 2006, when she left her job at the Walmart Supercenter on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

    http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2015/j...ohn-rese/?news
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    Charge in Arkansas slaying dropped after witness dies

    The Washington County prosecutor says a capital murder charge against a Springdale man has been dropped because a key witness died.

    The charge against 29-year-old Rico Tavarous Cohn was dropped Wednesday and he was released from jail. Prosecutor Matt Durrett told reporters the witness died unexpectedly earlier this year and that the remaining evidence was not sufficient to go to trial.

    Durrett declined to release the witness' name.

    Cohn was charged in 2012 for the 2006 death of 21-year-old college student Nina Ingram. Ingram was found strangled inside her apartment.

    Ingram's mother was planning to speak to reporters later Wednesday afternoon.

    Durrett said charges can be refiled for up to a year if new evidence is found.

    http://www.thv11.com/story/news/2015...dies/29582499/
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    And justice for all?

    Rico Cohn spent three years in jail awaiting trial on capital murder charges based on the memory of one witness, who told police six years after the killing that Cohn had confessed to her.

    Prosecutors, citing insufficient evidence, dropped all charges against Cohn on July 1 after that witness, Randee Applewhite, died after surgery.

    "After she died, we had nothing," said Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett. "Her testimony led to other witnesses who could corroborate her story. She knew things nobody else knew, we lost all that stuff."

    Durrett said he felt comfortable with the case he had before Applewhite died.

    "If there wasn't enough there, we'd have dropped it a long time ago," Durrett said. "I trust the evidence we had this February, before Randee died. If Randee hadn't died, we'd still be trying this case."

    Tony Pirani, the former deputy public defender who helped win Cohn's release, is convinced the case was botched almost from the beginning. The result, Pirani said, has been an injustice to the murder victim, 21-year-old Bethany "Nina" Ingram, her family and Cohn.

    "The bottom line for us is, and I try to be diplomatic, this case was always bad and we've been telling them that literally for years and, somehow, this train wreck just kept moving forward," he said. "It's been frustrating not to be able to show how weak this case was."

    Cohn, 29, is back home in Tennessee, staying with his mother, looking for a job and trying to pick up the pieces. He was arrested June 6, 2012, and had he been convicted of capital murder, he faced life in prison without parole or death.

    "Right now, I'm trying to rebuild my life. I had my own life torn apart for no reason, and I'm having a rough time trying to rebuild and put things back together," he said. "There's three years of my life that I can never get back and it's something I'm probably going to be scarred from for the rest of my life."

    Prosecutors nol prosequi the case when they dropped the charges, which would allow it to be re-filed for up to a year if new evidence is obtained.

    Prosecutors never sought a delay in bringing the case to trial. The defense asked for several delays in order to secure test results. One delay was caused by a change of judges.

    Fayetteville police say they are maintaining an open investigation into Ingram's murder.

    Police and Judy Ingram, Nina Ingram's mother, said they hope new evidence will turn up and charges will be refiled.

    "When is Nina going to get justice?" Judy Ingram said after Cohn's release. "I have no doubt in my heart that Rico is the man who took Nina's life."

    Ingram said she hoped someone else would step forward because justice hasn't been served. Cohn is dangerous, Ingram said at a press conference.

    "I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for closure," Ingram said. "This is not the closure I wanted."

    The defense team isn't done with the case either. They're still investigating and having evidence tested and hope to be able to present evidence to the police that will lead to the arrest of Ingram's killer, Pirani said.

    "This investigation does not need to be closed," Pirani said. "I just don't believe that Rico did it. If I'm right, there's still a killer out there."

    Randee's Story

    The prosecution's case hinged on Applewhite's memory being triggered six years after Ingram's 2006 slaying by a story about the unsolved case. Judy Ingram reminded media annually about her daughter's unsolved case.

    Applewhite remembered several things she said Cohn told her about six months after the death. The two had a relationship while Applewhite and her husband were having marital difficulties, she told police.

    Applewhite told a friend, Brenda Case, she had information about the murder. Case then called a police tip line.

    Applewhite eventually told police Cohn admitted to her that he killed Ingram.

    Applewhite was reluctant to tell police much at first, according to court records. She had been a witness in a previous murder trial, when her boyfriend at the time, Byron Acey, shot and killed her best friend, Terell Mitchell, in a Fayetteville parking lot in 1999. She told police she feared Cohn, didn't want to be drawn into the case and did not want to testify.

    "Because I know what he can do, and I have children and like I said, I know her family wants closure but, you know, like I said, their daughter is gone but my children are not, so for the safety of me and my children I kept it to myself," Applewhite said in a 2012 police interview.

    "And plus I didn't -- I didn't know one hundred percent if it was true or not -- you know what I'm saying -- he could just be bragging."

    Durrett said Applewhite's story remained consistent throughout.

    "She never once said anything other than that to us, other than what he told her," Durrett said. "She said she didn't know what happened -- if he did it or not -- because she was not there."

    Murder Tales

    Ingram was last seen just before midnight on April 21, 2006. Investigators believe she left her job at the Walmart Supercenter on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and spent time with her boyfriend before returning to her apartment.

    A Texas native, Ingram moved to Fayetteville with her mom and two brothers for her freshman year of high school, while her dad and other brother remained in Lillian, Texas. She graduated from Fayetteville High School in 2002.

    Ingram attended Northwest Arkansas Community College after high school, where she was majoring in business.

    Ingram's brother found her body April 22, 2006, on her bed in her apartment on Sycamore Street, according to police records.

    Autopsy results cited strangulation by ligature as the cause of death. The medical examiner said the attack on Ingram was so sudden and violent she had no time to fight back. There were no signs of a sexual assault, and police said there was no sign of forced entry.

    Police said they believed Ingram was killed because she rebuffed Cohn and others who made inappropriate comments to her as she left her apartment five days before her death, according to records. One witness told police Cohn was upset because Ingram thought she was too good for him. Cohn felt Ingram had been "disrespectful," according to records.

    In Applewhite's interviews with police, she said Cohn told her he was going to buy marijuana at the apartment complex a few weeks after the initial encounter with Ingram when he saw her arrive home. He knocked on her door and, when she opened it slightly, he shouldered his way in, strangled her and wiped down the door and door knob then left.

    Afterward, Cohn went to a friend's home where he watched the news to see if Ingram was dead or not, Applewhite recounted.

    "When he looked at me and told me, and the way he looked me in my face and told me, it felt real," Applewhite told investigators.

    She told police Cohn said he choked Ingram to make a point and before he knew it, she was dead. Applewhite said Cohn had scratches to his neck and chest, a broken knuckle and bloody cuticles when she saw him shortly after Ingram's death.

    Cohn was described in police interviews by Applewhite and two other women he dated, Cathleen Slaughter and Margarite Hood, as having a quick, violent temper and being very controlling and jealous.

    Applewhite said Cohn once grabbed her by the throat, picked her up off the floor and choked her. He also put a gun in her face and sabotaged her car, she said. Slaughter and Hood also claimed in police interviews that Cohn choked them.

    None of the domestic incidents were reported to police.

    Tunnel Vision

    As time went on, Pirani contends, Applewhite's story become more embellished.

    "Her testimony at trial was not going to be in line with that statement," Pirani said. "She was going to testify she did not believe Rico committed that crime and Rico never said 'I killed Nina Ingram.' She made some assumptions. People say a lot of things for a lot of reasons. I'm not in her head."

    Cathleen Slaughter also told police Cohn told her he killed Ingram, but after talking with Slaughter again, prosecutors decided there were too many problems and inconsistencies with her testimony. For example, Slaughter said Cohn told her he had shot Ingram.

    Slaughter's statements were never credible and her statements did not match Applewhite's story or the crime scene, Pirani said.

    "There was nothing to back up what those girls were saying," he said.

    Prosecutors had no DNA evidence. There were no fingerprints. Cohn passed a lie detector test commissioned by the defense.

    The state crime lab mislabeled and misplaced evidence and potential witnesses were never talked to, Pirani said.

    The crime lab said there was no DNA, but independent testing by the defense found a small amount, likely not enough to produce a profile for comparison purposes. The defense is still trying to get a usable profile from that sample, Pirani said.

    "It was like something out of a bad movie," he said. "The more we looked at it, the more things we found that just didn't make sense."

    Investigators had cognitive bias, or tunnel vision, and this was a textbook case for how not to do an investigation, Pirani said. Police had their suspect and would not consider the many things that did not match up.

    Pirani is not completely happy with the way the case ended because it did not give Cohn a chance to rebut charges in order to clear the cloud of suspicion surrounding him. The defense asked Judge Mark Lindsay for a full and complete dismissal, which was not granted.

    "There is a presumption of innocence. Rico's presumed innocent, and he is innocent in the eyes of the law, but there has been no trial," Pirani said.

    "We wanted the trial so everyone could see what we see, that there is no credible evidence. If all this had been presented, everyone in the courtroom would have realized he was not guilty. There would have been no doubt, it's just not there."

    Pirani said he'd like to be able to lay out the defense's case for Ingram's family, including the existence of an individual whose name has come up at least three times in the investigation since 2008. Neither Pirani nor authorities would identify the person.

    He advised Cohn not to talk about the case in media interviews because it could be refiled.

    Not So Speedy Trial

    Cohn was in jail for three years because the trial was postponed eight times, most for additional evidence testing by experts hired by the defense.

    Durrett said prosecutors never sought a delay in the case and did not object to additional testing.

    "If the evidence points to someone else or another direction or clears someone, we need to know that, too," he said. "The evidence is what it is and if it points in a different direction, so be it."

    Durrett said the prosecution doesn't benefit from delays, particularly in a 9-year-old case, because people often leave the area and memories fade.

    "We're responsible for getting it right," Durrett said. "There's nobody out there that fears a wrongful conviction more than a prosecutor. I don't want that burden of locking an innocent person up on my head."

    After Applewhite died in March, prosecutors said they waited until June to drop the charges hoping to find other witnesses they felt comfortable with going to court.

    Slaughter had told police Cohn once told her he killed Ingram but after tracking her down and talking with Slaughter again, prosecutors decided there were too many problems and inconsistencies with her testimony.

    For example, Slaughter said Cohn told her he shot Ingram, bought pills from Ingram and had a prior relationship with Ingram. Prosecutors decided there was no evidence any of those things had happened.

    Criminal Past

    Cohn moved to Fayetteville for a job in March 2005 after a stint at the Cass Job Corps in Franklin County. He worked a series of low-paying jobs, moving frequently and often staying with friends.

    Scott Conduff, owner of a construction company, said Cohn worked for him "on and off " for a couple years as a general laborer and was a good employee.

    "It blew me away," he said of the arrest. "It seems completely out of character. He's just a nice guy. He's the kind of person who would walk up to a stranger, shake their hand and ask how their day was going."

    "For someone to tell me that Rico killed someone, that just doesn't compute," he said. "I would have to see the facts."

    Cohn is a convicted criminal. He was arrested in late 2005 for possession of cocaine. He pleaded guilty April 24, 2006, three days after Ingram was killed, and was sentenced to three years probation and fined $1,000.

    His probation was revoked in October 2006 for not reporting to his probation officer, failing a drug test and not making timely payments on his fine and fees. He was sentenced to 10 years with eight suspended. Prosecutors said Cohn served about nine months.

    Cohn was convicted again in May 2009 of possessing marijuana and was sentenced to 120 days and fined $1,000.

    In November 2009, Cohn pleaded guilty to delivery of marijuana and was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five suspended. He was given credit for 27 days served in jail and served about 9 months.

    True Blessing

    After 1,121 days sitting in jail, Cohn asked for a hamburger and ride to his mother's house.

    "It was the best feeling in the world," Cohn said in a July 20 phone call. "It was like it went from no hope to hope. It was a true blessing."

    "I am innocent," Cohn said. "I don't know anything about this. All I know is I was throwed in jail for it."

    Cohn hugged his lawyers and supporters as he walked out of the Washington County Jail a free man, a cell phone video shows.

    "It was a pretty incredible moment. He wanted to eat, so we went to Sonic," Pirani said.

    Another cell phone video documents the emotional reunion with his mom, who had last seen him July 4, 2011. Cohn celebrated the holiday this year with her and other family members.

    "We had a handful," Cohn said. "I got to see my grandmother and my uncles and aunts and a lot of cousins. It was fun."

    Cohn said his grandfather and several other family members passed away while he was in jail.

    He said he feels Ingram's family has been denied the justice and closure they deserve.

    "I feel the pain and what the family is going through, and I will continue to keep their family in my prayers and pray that justice is served," he said.

    http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2...0802/?f=latest
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Timeline

    April 21, 2006 — Bethany Nina June Ingram, 21, is last seen alive between 11:30 p.m. and midnight when she left her job at the Sixth Street Wal-Mart Supercenter. She spent time with her boyfriend, Josh Stewart, before returning to her apartment.

    April 22, 2006 — Noah Ingram, Nina’s brother, finds her body in the bedroom of her apartment at the Law Quad, 701 W. Sycamore St. Autopsy determines the cause of death was strangulation by ligature.

    July 2, 2006 — Fayetteville police say DNA evidence analyzed by the Arkansas State Crime Lab has not yielded any leads.

    December 23, 2007 — Fayetteville police say they have new DNA evidence that may help identify or eliminate suspects. The sample is sent to the FBI.

    April 22, 2010 — Police say the investigation remains open. Evidence taken from the crime scene is still being analyzed by the FBI to obtain a different DNA profile.

    June 6, 2012 — Police arrest Rico Tavarous Cohn, 26, of Springdale, in connection with capital murder. Cohn is jailed without bond. Police say media reports in April on the anniversary of the murder led to information allowing them to develop Cohn as a suspect.
    June 20, 2012 — Cohn enters a not guilty plea before Magistrate Ray Reynolds. Judge sets trial for Aug. 20.

    September 24, 2013 — Cohn’s defense team, including Tony Pirani and Kao Lee, asks the judge to declare the death penalty unconstitutionally cruel and excessive, arbitrary and capricious. Washington County Circuit Judge William Storey denies defense motions. Prosecutor John Threet says he hasn’t decided whether to seek the death penalty.

    December 31, 2013 — Cohn is found mentally fit to stand trial. Cohn tells doctors he is innocent and does not want to pursue a mental disease defense.

    January 27, 2014 — Storey grants a request to allow experts hired by the defense to test the state’s evidence in the case. According to the motion, evidence they see as critical has never been tested at the State Crime Lab.
    October 17, 2014 — Ongoing testing delays the trial.

    January 1, 2015 — Cohn’s case is transferred to Judge Mark Lindsay.

    January 30, 2015 — Ongoing testing by defense delays trial again.

    March 3, 2015 — Randee Applewhite, the state’s key witness in the case against Cohn, dies unexpectedly following surgery at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale.

    July 1, 2015 — Cohn, now 29, walks out of the Washington County Detention Center at 9:38 a.m. after capital murder charge him is dropped.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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