Little Rock police arrest suspect in Forrest City murder

FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - A Forrest City man wanted in connection with a November murder was arrested in Little Rock Sunday.

On Nov. 7, officers were called to the Cope Cove apartment complex where they found the body of 30-year-old Diabre McCraw behind one of the apartment buildings.

On Nov. 13, several warrants, including a warrant for capital murder, were issued for the arrest of 28-year-old Tommy Barber. Barber was taken into custody Sunday morning in Little Rock on charges of capital murder, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, possession of a firearm by a certain person and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the death of McCraw at an apartment in the Cope Cove complex. Officials with the FCPD said officers with the Little Rock Police Department arrested Barber on the Forrest City warrant.

Barber is accused of shooting McCraw in the abdomen after the two men fought during a robbery that allegedly started as a narcotics transaction. According to an affidavit, witnesses told police that Barber shot McCraw after attempting to steal marijuana and money. The men allegedly fought after Barber brandished a firearm and demanded that McCraw give him all of his cash and drugs. Barber allegedly stood over McCraw and shot him after McCraw slipped and fell to the ground during the altercation and surrendered both the money and drugs to Barber.

The endangering the welfare of a minor charges were filed because there were allegedly two small children in the apartment when the altercation and subsequent murder occurred.

"I again want to extend my prayers and condolences to the family of the victim. I commend the detective bureau and lead investigator, Det. Sgt. Eric McCoy, which through their hard work put all three suspects behind bars and provided some closure for the family. I would also like to thank the Little Rock Police Department for their assistance," said Chief E.P. Reynolds in a press release.

Barber is the third man arrested in connection with McCraw's death. Dwayne Haggins, 28, and Michael Duke, 22, both of Forrest City, were arrested on charges of abuse of a corpse in connection with the case.

Barber has an extensive history of felony arrests dating to 1999 when he was 15 and sentenced to 36 months in prison for commercial burglary. He received a separate 60-month suspended imposition of sentences for theft of property and robbery convictions. His probation was revoked on the latter charges in 2003.

In 2003, Barber was sentenced to 120 months in prison when his probation was revoked after his arrest on two charges of first-degree attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a certain person in connection with a 2003 incident. The attempted murder charges were nolle prosequi in 2003, and he received a second 60-month suspended sentence for the possession of a firearm charge.

Barber received a third suspended sentence in August of 2003 after pleading guilty to first-degree battery from a May 2003 charge.

Barber pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fleeing in 2007 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was also arrested for second-degree battery and engaging in contact with a criminal gang in 2007. Those charges were nolle prosequi in September of this year.

In April of 2008, Barber was charged with felony theft of property, and those charges were nolle prosequi last year. In August of 2008, he was charged with rape, kidnapping, possession of firearms by certain persons and terroristic threatening. Days after his arrest, he was charged with second-degree escape after he and another inmate attempted to overpower a jailer and take his keys. The rape, kidnapping, possession of firearms and terroristic threatening charges were all nolle prosequi in 2009, and the escape charge was nolle prosequi in September.

According to circuit court records, a bench warrant was issued for Barber's arrest on Sept. 13, for a felony charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution and a misdemeanor charge of false swearing. He was charged with both crimes in August of 2011.

Barber was arraigned Monday morning at the St. Francis County Jail and is being held without bond.

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