Monday, January 11, 2016

Capital murder case ends in plea bargain

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 7:14 AM

click to enlarge CORNELL HUELL
Cornell Huell entered a guilty plea in a capital murder case late last week in Hot Spring Circuit Court, a deal that will give him a 40-year sentence for first-degree murder and 16 years for attempted first-degree murder, to be served consecutively.

Huell, 24, of Malvern, pleaded guilty in the Feb. 16 shooting death of Jason Stovall at his Malvern home in what was described as a home invasion. Stovall's girlfriend also was shot with her three young children present in the home. While awaiting trial, Huell escaped from the Hot Spring County Jail last April, but was recaptured a day later.

The plea bargain likely puts to rest an issue that had been developing in the case — an allegation in filings by defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig that the presiding Circuit Judge Chris Williams had discussed the case with Supreme Court Justices Karen Baker and Jo Hart. The Supreme Court action in the case included a refusal to grant a defense motion for a delay in the case to consider an "extraordinary" matter. According to court filings, two attorneys, Philip Wilson and Norman Frisby, said that, in the course of an informal conversation in his chambers June 19, Judge Williams mentioned he'd talked with two Supreme Court justices prior to the decision against the delay. Discussions on this allegation of a so-called ex parte communication, including testimony from the lawyers, had been the subject of debate in court filings, under seal until recently. The judge denied such a conversation had occurred, though he acknowledged talking informally with the justices at a judicial conference.

Judge Williams self-reported the allegation to the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, but no one filed a formal complaint and it is not under investigation. Had the case preceded to trial and a death sentence, it would have inevitably become a much larger issue. Judge Williams had declined to get off the case, despite a defense motion that he do so. The prosecuting attorney joined the recusal motion. According to defense filings, he also made statements that could be interpreted as threats of disciplinary retaliation against lawyers who made the allegations. Note that Justices Baker and Hart are not reflected as having recused from the order refusing the delay though the allegations about a discussion with them undergirded the request.

These court filings detail the issue.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Mike Huckabee, meet James Madison

    Not that it will do much good, but Times columnist Ernest Dumas this week provides some useful Founding Father history, plus a little bit of Bible, for how wrong-headed Mike Huckabee, Asa Hutchinson, the Republican legislature and others are in using government to enforce their religious views.
    • May 26, 2015
  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Cosmopolitan: Why were the Duggars made famous in the first place?

    A writer in Cosmopolitan wonders why it took so long for attention to the "disturbingly misogynistic" dimension of the Jim Bob Duggar family.
    • May 28, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation