Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TOP STORY >> Accused in killing appears in court

Leader staff writer

Marcus Israel, 23, withdrew $20 Friday night at First Arkansas Bank’s ATM on West Main Street, according to Jacksonville police. The commonplace act was his last.

The Jacksonville man may have selected the “fast cash” shortcut many automatic-teller machines prompt customers to use.

Fast cash is what 19-year-old Lerome Deshawn Kelley was looking for before he allegedly shot Israel several times with a semi-automatic pistol, according to Capt. Kenny Boyd of the Jacksonville Police Department.

The victim died Saturday at UAMS.

Kelley is charged with capital murder, four counts of aggravated robbery, committing a terroristic act and three counts of theft of property.

Although he pleaded not guilty on Monday at Jacksonville District Court to the murder, one robbery charge and the terrorist act charge, Kelley confessed to killing Israel after he was arrested on Sunday, according to police.

Boyd added that Kelley admitted to robbing three others at gunpoint on the same day as the murder, on Nov. 30 and on Nov. 28.

District Judge Robert Batton is scheduled to hear Kelley’s pleas on the rest of the charges at 9 a.m. today in a video conference call from the Pulaski County jail. No bond has been set.

Kelley is set to appear at 9 a.m. Friday in Batton’s courtroom at 1412 W. Main St. for a bond hearing. He will re-enter pleas later at Pulaski County Circuit Court, which tries felony cases.

The homeless teen who stayed with different people in Jacksonville told police he shot at Israel because he got “scared” when the other man tried to drive away.

Boyd said Kelley and Israel never spoke to each other.

He added, “I learned a long time ago not to attempt to get into these people’s heads. They don’t think like me and you do.”

Israel was found inside his green Dodge Ram, which he crashed into a vacant building.

A surveillance video shows Kelley parking his bicycle in a nearby alley, according to reports. He walked out of camera view until 10:39 p.m., one minute after Israel pulled up to the ATM.

Kelley was wearing a camouflage jacket when he fled the scene. He was seen Sunday wearing the same jacket and riding a bike on Stevenson Street.

Boyd said Monday that the department, at this time, is not releasing how Kelley was found because information related to that is being followed up on.

But, he said of investigators, “They worked diligently over the weekend.”

Reports of the previous robberies were not released because police didn’t want to alert Kelley to their investigation, Boyd said.

“We don’t want to give all of our clues out so quickly,” he explained.

Kelley covered his face completely, with the exception of his eyes, during all of the robberies. All of the locations had security cameras.

On the day of the murder, Kelley allegedly robbed a Sonic employee at 1808 West Main St. when the employee went outside by the dumpster to smoke, according to a report.

A pack of Marlboro red cigarettes, a coin holder and a Sonic wallet containing $100.64 were stolen.

On Nov. 30, a man was robbed at Bank of America at 101 Gregory Place off North First Street. A cell phone was stolen from the man, who said he didn’t have any money on him, according to a report.

A man was robbed at Bank of America on Nov. 28. A cell phone and $240 were stolen.