Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TOP STORY >>Abuse root of violence

Lonoke and Sherwood have not escaped the domestic-abuse phenomenon. A Lonoke woman is dead after she was shot over the weekend by her husband, who is being held in the Lonoke County Detention Center.

A pregnant Sherwood woman was beaten and her dog was shot at by an angry boyfriend, which led to a showdown with police and his arrest. She was briefly hospitalized and released.

In Lonoke, 43-year-old Shirley D. Tyus’ marital problems ended when her husband allegedly shot her dead with a shotgun blast to the stomach about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Horace Dixon Jr., 41, walked in to the Lonoke Police Department at 4 a.m. to report that he had shot her. Dixon is being held without bond in connection with first-degree murder at the Lonoke County Detention Center, according to Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain. He will be in jail at least until July 9, according to McCastlain.

Domestic abuse doesn’t usually escalate to murder—McCastlain could think of three instances in the past decade—but it is pervasive and worse in the summer heat, she said. “Typically a fifth of the district court docket is domestic violence every time,” the prosecutor said.

Domestic violence crosses all economic, racial and cultural lines, she said. And a woman—most victims of domestic violence are women—usually gets beaten or abused several times before she leaves the man, said McCastlain.

On June 16, a 911 caller requested an ambulance for a Sherwood woman who was seven months pregnant. MEMS ambulance personnel called dispatch because it was a domestic disturbance and they needed the police to respond.

After an officer responded to the 10000 block of Hillcrest Roadway in Sherwood, Crystal Cron told police that she woke up in her residence at Hillcrest when her boyfriend, Christopher Uekman, and a friend came in from playing cards with other friends.

Uekman was upset, a police report indicated. He threatened to shoot the family dog and allegedly fired off two rounds at the dog but missed it. The suspect apparently ran out of ammunition for that gun and was going to get another gun when Cron attempted to stop him, according to the report. Cron was thrown to the ground, grabbed by the neck and had her head slammed against a concrete surface while being choked.

Uekman then went into the residence and Cron picked up a rifle and threw it over a wooden fence before following him inside.

Cron was once again beat. She ran to a neighbor’s residence and called the police. After several attempts to get Uekman to leave the couple’s residence, a SWAT team was summoned.

Upon entry, police found Uekman lying on a bed and was taken into custody without incident. Police located three guns during the incident. Police found the other two weapons—a .22-caliber rifle and a .12-gauge shotgun—inside the residence. Uekman faces charges of aggravated assault of a family member and second-degree domestic battery. Cron was taken to an area hospital.