Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TOP STORY >> Sentence for killer: Life with no parole

Leader staff writer

David Derreberry, arrested last April for murdering the owner of a pawn shop and used car business at the edge of Cabot, pleaded guilty to capital murder Tuesday afternoon and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham said he had told Derreberry’s lawyers, who included local attorney Tim Blair and three public defenders, that Derreberry had to plead by Tuesday evening or he would go to trial and ask for the death penalty.

Cabot firefighters discovered the body of Billy Joe Pipkin, 61, on Hwy. 367 on April 4, when they responded to a fire at his pawn shop.

Five days later, Derreberry, 37, was arrested and charged with capital murder, aggravated robbery, arson, theft of a firearm and theft of property more than $2,500.

His wife, Jaclyn Derreberry, 31, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension, two counts of theft by receiving and criminal use of property or laundering of criminal proceeds.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison with six years suspended.

The couple lived at Greenbrier. Graham said David Derreberry was not employed. The investigation after Pipkin’s murder revealed that he supported his family by stealing.

Investigators with the State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the county sheriff’s department located Derreberry by the car he was driving when he killed Pipkin, a black Volkswagen convertible with chrome wheels.

Billy Joe Pipkin was the son of Abe Pipkin, a Beebe police officer who was found beaten to death with a crowbar 34 years before his son was also murdered.

The elder Pipkin’s murder went unsolved for 25 years until Gary Lee Evans confessed to his girlfriend, who was wearing a recorder, that he had murdered the police officer when he came upon him and others robbing a drugstore.

Evans was sentenced to 30 years in prison.