Leader Blues

Monday, February 09, 2009

TOP STORY>>Murder suspect ruled insane

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Ronald Dean Charles, 31, of Jacksonville lacks the mental capacity to stand trial for the capital murder of Sandra Ann Givens and prosecutors can’t proceed against his co-defendant without Charles’ testimony.

“That puts us in a bind with George Smith,” said Deputy Pulaski County Prosecutor Marianne Satterfield. At a Friday morning hearing, she dropped the capital murder charge against Smith, 33, also of Jacksonville, and he had been released from the Pulaski County Detention Center by 2 p.m., according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Charles had implicated himself and Smith in Givens’ murder, but without Charles’ testimony, Satterfield said she had insufficient evidence to convict Smith. He could be charged again later if there is a change in Charles’ mental capacity.

Charles’ Pulaski County mental evaluation was not yet completed Friday, Satterfield said. But a completed evaluation filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court in a separate murder case found Charles mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Charles has been returned to the Faulkner County Jail pending further developments, she said.

He could end up in the Arkansas State Hospital, she said.

Charles led lawmen to the remains of Givens, a White County native who was 32 when she was killed. Family members reported her missing in October 2007.

Her remains were found on the grounds of Wright’s Cabinet Shop at Redmond Road in Jacksonville.

At the time of the discovery Charles was already was in the Faulkner County Jail with Troy Allen Crook, 29, awaiting trial for the April 9, 2008 murders of cousins Bobby Don Brock, 45, and Lonnie Franklin Brock, 62. The Brocks lived near Vilonia. Crook was not implicated in the Givens murder.

In addition to two capital murder charges, Charles and Crook each face a bevy of other charges related to the Brock killings.

Charles is charged as a habitual criminal with four or more prior felonies, Satterfield said.

Both men have prior records, Charles’ stretching back to a 1995 Pulaski County conviction for two counts of commercial burglary and two counts of theft of property. He was 18 at the time, and was sentenced to two years in prison. In 1999, he was sentenced to six years for residential burglary and theft of property.

Crook was convicted in Pulaski County for residential burglary in 2000, probation revocation in 2001, and was convicted in 2006 of fraudulent use of a credit card.

At the time that Charles led officials to Givens’ remains, he told Faulkner County deputies that he had been involved in another area murder and maybe 15 more in different states.

The search for the second local body was fruitless, although local residents say the search area floods easily and floodwaters could have carried a body off.

Charles was appointed a lawyer soon after making those claims and refused to cooperate with officials after that, according to Maj. Andy Shock of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.