Felony first degree murder charges were filed Friday by the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office against Andrew Judd Elrod, 58, of Conway, in connection with the shooting death of Charles Hooten.
Hooten, 39, and his fiance, Debbie L. Ford, 47, both of Conway, were discovered outside Elrod’s residence at 55 Buddy Lane off of State Highway 286 on Friday, Dec. 14.
Hooten had received a fatal gunshot wound, and Ford was flown via air ambulance to UAMS where she was treated for multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.
Elrod was arrested for second degree battery at the time of the incident for allegedly shooting Ford.
The battery charge is a class D felony, which carries a penalty range of zero to six years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
"At the time of the incident, investigators presented our office with sufficient evidence that probable cause existed to warrant a charge of second degree battery, and formal charges were filed at that time," said Cody Hiland, 20th Judicial District prosecuting attorney.
Hiland said formal charges filed Friday follow "a thorough investigation of the case by investigators with the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office."
"The investigation revealed sufficient evidence that probable cause existed, warranting a charge of first degree murder…," said Hiland.
First degree murder is a class Y felony, which is punishable by a range of 10 to 40 years or life in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Hiland said in order to be charged with first degree murder, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant purposefully caused the death of another person.
"A defendant may also present evidence that a shooting was justifiable, which is why a thorough investigation of all the facts in a more complex case is necessary before filing formal charges," Hiland said.
Elrod was in custody Saturday on a $250,000 bond, according to jailers.
Hooten’s Facebook profile indicates he was an employee at Tokusen.
Multiple sources confirm Ford is a custodian at Conway Public Schools.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. 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)