Arkansas prosecutor drops murder charge against Texas man
SEARCY, Ark. (AP) — A prosecutor has opted to drop charges against a Texas man accused in the death of an Arkansas man who went missing in 1994, saying additional evidence is needed to move forward in a case where the victim’s body has not been found.
A judge approved Searcy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Reed McCoy’s motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday against Brandon Wheeler, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. McCoy said she hopes to refile charges later and that her decision was spurred because authorities wouldn’t be able to gather and test any additional evidence in time for the jury trial scheduled for Monday.
Wheeler, of Weatherford, Texas, was arrested in May in the death of 20-year-old Jarrod Green, who was reported missing in early October 1994. Wheeler had been charged with capital murder and abuse of a corpse. He was free on a $100,000 bond when McCoy’s motion was approved.
McCoy would need to show “good cause” to refile the case, but she faces no statute of limitations on a homicide charge.
She said she couldn’t discuss specific evidence, but said that authorities were working to drain a pond.
“Detectives involved in this case have been working steadily for this entire period of time” to drain the pond, McCoy said. “Some of it (the delay) was the weather.”
McCoy said acquiring the proper equipment and “other snags” have slowed the process.
She said it was too soon to say when the pond draining would be complete.
“I know that the Green family definitely deserves justice. They deserve answers on where Jarrod is,” she said.
Defense attorney Michael Petty had argued in a court document last month that the abuse-of-a-corpse charge should be dismissed. “In this case, Mr. Jarrod Green’s corpse, assuming that he is even dead, as the prosecutor alleges, has never been discovered,” Petty wrote.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com