Prosecutors have requested more time to review evidence in a case against a Faulkner County man accused of killing a homeless man.
Joe Bernard Nowell, 51, faces one count of capital murder after 60-year-old William Ray Holt of Little Rock was found dead in the East Fork Cadron Creek in July.
Charges have not yet been formally filed against Nowell, who is currently being held without bond in the Faulkner County Detention Center.
The 51-year-old murder suspect appeared in circuit court Tuesday for a status hearing regarding possible charges against him. As of press time, charges had not yet been filed in this case.
Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson has scheduled a separate November status hearing to determine whether prosecutors will formally file charges against Nowell.
Pending charges against Nowell stem from an evening incident in which the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office was called out tot he 420 block of Highway 287 over the East Fork Cadron Creek regarding a body that was found floating in the waters under the bridge.
Chief Deputy Matt Rice previously told the Log Cabin that authorities believe Holt was killed "around 24 hours prior to [his] body being located" around 8 p.m. July 24.
Online records state the 60-year-old victim's throat was "slit on both sides and his abdomen splayed open" when deputies arrived on scene.
Throughout this investigation, the sheriff’s office has collected phone records and Nowell’s DNA to tie him to Holt’s murder.
Holt’s body was identified via a fingerprint scan at the Arkansas State Crime Lab on July 25. As the investigation continued, authorities learned the 60-year-old homeless man had been living with Nowell at a residence on Berry Gap Lane in eastern Faulkner County.
The victim’s body was discovered on a Tuesday evening. Nowell reportedly told authorities he last saw the 60-year-old the Sunday prior to his discovery in the creek.
As a search warrant was executed at the Berry Gap residence in July, “several items were seized.”
While at the residence, investigators spoke with Nowell, who said Holt began staying with him “on and off” about six months prior, noting he’d picked up the 60-year-old homeless man in Little Rock. According to a search warrant affidavit requesting cell phone records from AT&T, the suspect previously told police the two attended church together. On Sunday, July 22, Nowell said he was saved during the church service and later go into an argument with Holt the same night regarding Holt’s drinking problem.
According to Nowell’s statement, Holt packed all his belongings, including $700 and a red wallet, and left walking that night.
It was the last time Nowell said he saw Holt, according to the affidavit.
After speaking with others in the area, investigators learned Nowell and Holt had a close relationship.
“A neighbor of Mr. Nowell told investigators that Nowell put up a mail box for Mr. Holt, which we later found to be a requirement to get his Social Security benefits,” the affidavit reads in part. “In addition, we found that Mr. Nowell helped Holt open an Arvest Bank account in which Mr. Nowell was made power of attorney.”
FCSO also learned Nowell reportedly had a reputation for picking up homeless man and having them collect money for him.
During the execution of one of the search warrants at Nowell's Berry Gap Lane residence, he suffered from an apparent drug overdose and was taken by ambulance to Baptist Health Medical Center. He was later arrested on Sept. 21 on suspicion of killing 60-year-old Holt.
Nowell is scheduled to appear next at 9 a.m. Nov. 9 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a status hearing regarding possible charges in the aforementioned case.