Arkansas Department of Correction records show Howard Dallas Short II, recently charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Greenbrier man, was released from Department of Community Correction custody days before his alleged victim was found dead in his residence.
ADC assistant director of public services Dina Tyler said records show Short, who was released from ADC custody on May 11, 2012, was arrested May 9, 2013, for absconding. Short was then transferred to the Omega Technical Violator Center in Malvern on May 30, and was released Aug. 1.
DCC’s website states the purpose for the technical violators program is to provide an "alternative sanction for offenders who commit technical parole violations thereby decreasing the number of parolees who are re-incarcerated for technical violations."
The program provides approximately 60 days of residential confinement that is followed by 12 months of "applied programming in a community setting," DCC’s website states.
Authorities believe Short killed Michael Wayne Robb, 64, in the days following his release from the technical violator center.
Robb was found dead in his residence at 27 Wilson Road on Aug. 6 by Faulkner County Sheriff’s deputies. Authorities responded to Robb’s residence after he was reported missing by his sister.
Robb’s sister said she had not talked to her brother since July 15, and no one had seen him since July 31.
Authorities believe Robb died days before he was found.
During their investigation, deputies learned of activity on Robb’s bank account after he was reported missing, and also discovered his truck missing.
Short and April Cullum, 25, were located in Atkins by an off-duty officer, with Robb’s vehicle, the night of Aug. 6.
Cullum was apprehended by officers, however, Short escaped in a vehicle and led multiple agencies on a high-speed pursuit through three counties before being apprehended.
In an Aug. 8 interview with investigators, Short confessed to killing Robb, an affidavit states.
Short pleaded guilty Sept. 11 to three charges from two prior cases involving stolen checks, including one case which listed Robb as the victim.
The findings in Robb’s murder add to growing complaints, from lawmakers and the public, of the ADC, which drew criticism after a Little Rock man was alleged to have kidnapped and murdered an 18-year-old man in May, just days after being released on an absconder warrant.
Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said he hopes changes in the parole system are coming.
"Repeat offenders have become a thorn in the side of law enforcement, and it’s created a great deal of frustration within the law enforcement community," Hiland said. "I’m hopeful with the recent attention placed on problems with the parole system that the proper steps are being taken to mitigate damage that has been done."
Short is set for arraignment on his first-degree murder charge Oct. 7 before Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio.
If convicted of first-degree murder, a class Y felony, Short would face 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)