Friday, March 14, 2014

TOP STORY >> Accused killer has history of police troubles

Leader staff writer

The parolee accused in the March 2 stabbing death of Steven Thomas Miller at a local bar was well known to White County law enforcement.

Arthur Lockhart Jr. told police that he stabbed Miller, a 28-year-old white man from Cabot, after the victim called his wife a “nigger.” Miller was killed around 5 a.m. in the parking lot of The Hangar bar off Hwy. 67/167.

Arthur Lockhart and Tere Rowshell Lockhart, both 35, black and Searcy residents, have been charged with second-degree murder.

Arthur Lockhart was also charged with tampering with evidence because he allegedly threw a knife onto the roof of the bar after the stabbing.

The Lockharts are being held at the Pulaski County jail with a $250,000 bond for Arthur Lockhart and a $100,000 bond for his wife.

It’s not Arthur Lockhart’s first stint in jail.

In 2005, he was sentenced to 26 years with the Arkansas Department of Corrections for aggravated assault and possession of firearms by a certain person, according to the department's inmate search database.

Lockhart was also sentenced in 1995 to six years for second-degree battery and robbery.

He was found guilty in 2011 of felony possession of a controlled substance, felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, according to a White County Courthouse spokesperson.

In 1998, Lockhart was sentenced to five years for possession of a controlled substance with purpose to manufacture or deliver, according to the Department of Corrections database.

He was sentenced to 45 months for the more recent drug charges.

Lockhart was on parole through 2025 when he was arrested for the murder.

White County electronic court records searchable by name are not available from cases that occurred before 2010. There are records from before then, but the year of the offense is required to locate them.

Searcy police know Lockhart by his pseudonym, “Fox,” according to spokesman Cpl. Steve Hernandez.

Hernandez told The Leader, “It doesn’t surprise me that (Arthur Lockhart) did it. I surprises me that I haven’t heard from him in a long time.”

The spokesman said Searcy police have arrested the alleged murderer five times for fleeing, failure to pay fines and failure to appear.

Arthur Lockhart was also arrested for a felony terroristic act. He allegedly fired shots at his home to scare people, Hernandez said.

Searcy police have not arrested Arthur Lockhart since 2005, the spokesman added.

Tere Lockhart was convicted in Pulaski County of two traffic violations and a failure to appear in court for one of those violations. She was on probation and is being held for the Bald Knob Police Department.

Jacksonville police responded to The Hangar, 7619 John Harden Drive, at 5:01 a.m. Sunday, March 2.

Miller was lying on the ground, unresponsive with a faint heartbeat and shallow breathing.

According to the report, there were two puncture wounds in his abdomen and one puncture wound on the left side of his neck.

Miller was taken to North Metro Medical Center, where he died at 6:15 a.m.

Two witnesses told police they saw Miller and Tere Lockhart arguing before the stabbing. Three witnesses said they saw Arthur Lockhart attack Miller.

One of the witnesses told police she saw Tere Lockhart push the victim’s face and hit him with the heel of a boot she was holding.

There was blood on the boot when an officer found it, according to the report.

Another witness saw Arthur Lockhart throw something over the building after the fight, the report continues. A black folding knife with blood on the blade was found where the witness said Arthur Lockhart had thrown something.

Tere Lockhart told police she hit Miller twice with her shoe. She said she didn’t see anyone else attack him after that. There was blood on her hands, body and clothing, according to the report.

Arthur Lockhart at first denied having a knife and attacking Miller, but said he would take the blame if police released his wife, according to the report.

He was told that both he and his wife were being charged.

Then Arthur Lockhart said he stabbed Miller two or three times and described the knife in detail, according to the report. There was also blood on his clothing, the report states.