Monday, June 06, 2011

TOP STORY >> Teen charged as an adult in stabbing death

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Stephen Cole, 17, admitted to killing a Jacksonville man on May 16.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham on Thursday charged Stephen Earle Cole, 17, of the South Bend community with second- degree murder for the May 16 stabbing death of a 19-year-old Jacksonville man.

Asked Friday why he had decided to charge Cole as an adult since he admitted to stabbing Brandon Scott, Graham said, “Because he’s 17 plus and it’s murder.”

The fight that preceded Scott’s death took place at 240 Rifle Lane near Furlow at the home of Cole’s friend, Katie Phillips. The fight was reportedly the culmination of problems between Cole and Scott over Cole’s former girlfriend who was dating Scott when he was killed.

Scott was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. His body was in the driveway.

Witness affidavits say Scott arrived at Phillips’ home with his friends Kristopher Kyle Setvin and Daniel Gibson and that they wanted to fight.

All witnesses said Scott punched Cole in the face several times and Cole responded by stabbing Scott in the chest several times.

The only discrepancy in the various accounts is that Cole said Scott hit him with a wrench while everyone else said he used his fists.

Cole and all the witnesses were still at the scene when state troopers arrived and took Cole into custody. He has been incarcerated in a juvenile lockup in Batesville since his arrest.

Judge Barbara Elmore set bail at $150,000. He is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m., June 24 for plea and arraignment.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.