A Cabot man has pleaded guilty to his involvement in the March 2018 strangulation death of Austin Dodson.
Jacob Tschopp, 33, was charged in May 2018 with manslaughter following 24-year-old Dodson’s death. The Cabot man was set to stand trial Jan. 28 and 29 but instead pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Faulkner County Circuit Court and now faces up to 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
After the 33-year-old admitted guilt in the case, his attorney, Ron Davis Jr., requested Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson conduct a pre-sentencing investigation. Clawson agreed to conduct a pre-sentencing investigation on Feb. 10.
During his plea entry hearing, Tschopp admitted to sitting on the victim before he died.
Tschopp was working security at a musical festival – Family Flux Festival – which was held March 16-18, 2018, when he and his co-defendant, Anthony Paul Flick, reportedly put Dodson in a chokehold.
The festival is held at the Cadron Creek Outfitters, which is located between Twin Groves and Guy, on Cargile Lane in the Walker Township. Nearly 1,000 individuals from across the South attended this particular event, which was held at Cadron Creek Outfitters for five years in a row. A festival was not held during 2019; however, a Flux Scouts Cosmic Jamboree is set for April 3-5 at Cadron Creek Outfitters.
Flick, who is a local MMA instructor, was initially pinpointed as the key suspect in Dodson’s death during the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigation of the matter. He has since been charged with and pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault.
Authorities were first alerted that something was wrong minutes after Dodson was allegedly strangled. However, his death was not ruled a homicide until a state medical examiner later determined foul play was a factor.
According to a probable cause affidavit, a medical examiner reported that he suspected Dodson died from “choke-hold strangulation due to the hemorrhaging of the neck.”
Deputy prosecutor Cortney Kennedy said Monday that the medical examiner also believes that Dodson would have survived his injuries had Tschopp not sat on him following the initial attack. Tschopp’s actions were the “final cause of death,” she said.
While on the stand, Tschopp told Clawson the victim “got in a tussle with [his] boss” before he was “instructed to sit on him.”
By sitting on the victim, Tschopp admitted he “ultimately caused [Dodson’s] death.”
A sentencing hearing will be held on March 27 in Tschopp’s case.
Flick is currently scheduled to stand trial March 9-11 for his alleged involvement.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.