The high-profile capital murder trial investigation of Billy Monroe Jones for the death of Sebastian County sheriff’s deputy Cpl. Bill Cooper is expected to resume soon with a completed autopsy report.
Kermit B. Channell II, executive director of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, said Wednesday the Medical Examiner Division has completed the autopsy report needed by the Arkansas State Police and the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office.
Dan Shue, Sebastian County Prosecutor, said the status of a due diligence process in seeking the death penalty for Cooper’s accused killer relies on the autopsy report. Cooper, 66, was killed Aug. 10 while responding to a domestic disturbance call in a rural southern area of the county with Hackett Police Chief Darrell Spells.
Shue noted he has been in contact with Cpl. Corey Mendenhall of the Arkansas State Police since a mid-August meeting and the prosecutor’s office supplied a 1 terabyte hard drive to the state police to capture hours of video evidence, as well as offense and supplementary reports.
Channell said the Arkansas State Police should have access to the autopsy from the State Crime Lab by the end of the week through an electronic portal called iResults.
On Aug. 10, when responding to the call at 4722 South Highway 253, Cooper was shot in the neck and Spells was grazed by a bullet. A K-9 dog, Kina, was shot twice but survived. Cooper reportedly barricaded himself in a home and finally gave up about noon that day. Police cars at the scene were preserved for a week as part of a court order to document bullet holes.
Jones was charged in Sebastian County Circuit Court Aug. 15 with capital murder and 10 counts of attempted murder for the shootout with police officers, all Class Y felonies. Jones was also charged with injuring an animal used by law enforcement, a Class D felony, being a “habitual criminal” and being a felon in possession of a firearm, a Class B felony. He remains in the Crawford County Detention Center.
Court-appointed attorneys for Jones entered pleas of not guilty.