Friday, March 07, 2014

TOP STORY >> Racial incident ends in murder

Leader staff writer

A white Cabot man was stabbed to death early Sunday morning at The Hangar bar off Hwy. 67/167 after he allegedly called a woman he didn’t know a “nigger.”

That woman and her husband, Tere Rowshell Lockhart and Arthur Lockhart Jr. — both 35, black, and Searcy residents — have been charged with the second-degree murder of 28-year-old Steven Thomas Miller. Arthur Lockhart was also charged with tampering with evidence.

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.

The couple do not have criminal records, according to the database available on the circuit/county clerk’s website.

Tere Lockhart was convicted of two traffic violations and a failure to appear in court for one of those violations.

But Miller, the victim, was convicted of the following felonies: driving while intoxicated (four or more offenses make it a felony) in 2009 and 2006; possession of a controlled counterfeit substance without a prescription in 2006 and 200, and aggravated assault in 2005.

Miller was arrested for aggravated assault, terroristic threatening and second-degree battery in 2011, but prosecutors decided to discontinue criminal charges.

That is called nolle prosequi. Reasons for a case not being prosecuted include lack of evidence or a victim refusing to testify.

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

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.

One of the victim’s friends said he saw Miller arguing with Tere Lockhart in the parking lot before the stabbing, according to the report.

When the friend ran over to break up the fight, he told police, he saw Arthur Lockhart attack Miller. Miller’s girlfriend also said she saw Arthur Lockhart attack the victim.

A witness who was in her car when the fight started told police she saw Miller and Tere Lockhart arguing. She said she saw Tere Lockhart pushing the victim while holding a boot with a heel.

The witness told police Tere Lockhart pushed Miller’s face. Then she saw Arthur Lockhart hitting Miller while the victim was on the ground.

While that was happening, the witness said, Tere Lockhart hit Miller with the heel of the boot she was holding. There was blood on the boot when an officer found it, according to the report.

The husband of that witness added that he heard Arthur Lockhart yelling, “That’s my wife!” while he was hitting the victim, the report continues.

He said he didn’t see Tere or Arthur Lockhart throw anything, such as weapons, over the building. The fight occurred between two parked vehicles.

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

Tere Lockhart told police that 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, it states.