Prosecutors to seek death penalty in east Arkansas murder case

FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - A Forrest City man free on bond after a St. Francis County jury failed to convict him for capital murder last fall now faces a second capital murder trial after allegedly gunning down a man Monday morning.

Terrance Mays, 20, is being held in lieu of a $750,000 bond in the shooting death of 20-year-old Dominique Tobar.

According to press releases from the Forrest City Police Department, officers and emergency personnel were called to the intersection of South Washington and Park Drive just after 10:30 Monday morning, after several anonymous callers reported a shooting. When emergency officials arrived at the scene, they found Tobar suffering from multiple gunshot wounds inside a GMC pickup that he was driving. Tobar was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel. Investigators said Tobar's body has been sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab for examination, and it has not yet been determined how many times he was shot.

A second person was also injured in the incident.

FCPD Chief E.P. Reynolds said Monday that a second person was found seeking treatment for a wound at Forrest City Medical Center, which officials thought was connected to Tobar's shooting. This morning, police said a 17-year-old male was shot in the leg during the incident and was transported to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital with a non-life threatening injury. Reynolds would not identify the victim because he is a juvenile.

Shortly after the shooting, police obtained an arrest warrant for Mays on charges of capital murder, three counts of attempted capital murder and first-degree battery. Mays turned himself in at the St. Francis County Jail just before midnight Monday and is scheduled to be arraigned in District Court Wednesday. His bond is currently set at $750,000.

"I would like to commend our FCPD detectives on their hard work and rapid resolution to this incident. Although an arrest has been made, the case is still under investigation. This senseless crime is made even worse for the families by happening during the holiday season. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them," said Reynolds in a press release today.

Reynolds said the shooting is the result of an ongoing conflict between Tobar and Mays. He also said authorities do not believe Monday's incident was related to an incident earlier this month when Mays claimed he was shot while checking his mailbox.

"This was not a random incident. It was the result of an ongoing conflict between these two men that came to a head yesterday morning. We don't think this case is in any way connected to the shooting reported by Mr. Mays earlier this month. This is really just a shame. I had spoken with Dominique several times, and he was really a likable young man who made some bad decisions," said Reynolds. "He seemed to have a desire to turn his life around and had expressed to me the difficulty that he was facing with the past felonies on his record. I talked to him about some of the options that he had as far as trades where his felonies might not hold him back. I think he was trying to do better. This is a tragedy for his family and loved ones."

Tobar was arrested twice on felony charges last year. The first arrest for aggravated robbery and felon in possession with a handgun was in connection with an October 2011 incident. He also faced charges in September 2011 for felon in possession of a handgun.

Tobar was also the victim in a pair of 2009 shooting incidents. In March 2009, he was found at South Side Park with a gunshot wound to his left side. The second incident happened in May, when he was shot twice in the left arm during an incident near the intersection of Fordham and Graham streets.

St. Francis County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Morledge said prosecutors will seek to have Mays held without bond and have already decided to seek the death penalty.

"Mr. Mays was already free on bond on a prior capital murder charge. I will be requesting that he be held without bond during his arraignment. I can also confirm that we will be seeking the death penalty in this case," said Morledge.

Prosecutor Fletcher Long said he is hopeful that prosecutors can win a conviction in this case and not have to proceed with a second trial for Mays in the 2010 death of Arthur Joplin in the driveway of his home on North Gorman Street.

"We have witnesses that we have subpoenaed that we have not been able find so that we can go back to trial. This case now becomes the priority case, and I would love for us to be able to get a conviction and take him off of the streets," said Long.

Mays was tried last October, but a mistrial was declared after jurors deadlocked 11-to-1. In January, Circuit Judge Richard Proctor set a $100,000 bond for Mays in the Joplin case and he was released with several conditions.

According to Circuit Court documents, Mays was required to live with his mother at 2039 Dell Street. He also received a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. curfew and was ordered to have no contact with any witnesses or co-defendants in the Joplin case. He was also required to have no alcohol or drugs in his possession and was required to maintain a monthly ankle bracelet surveillance. According to Morledge, the ankle bracelet requirement had been lifted.

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