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December 15, 2018
Magnolia Banner News

Murder suspect transferred back to state prison

By J.D. BAILEY, Banner-News
This article was published December 6, 2018 at 6:00 a.m.

Stephen T. Smith, the defendant in the Nov. 19 homicide of 22-year-old Jarious Shaw, has been transferred to the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC). The 24-year-old since Nov. 26 had been held in the Columbia County Detention Center after he was arrested two days prior in Bossier City, Louisiana, on a first-degree murder charge.

According to ADC records, the defendant on Tuesday was listed as an inmate on the “Columbia County Waiting List.” On Wednesday, he was listed as a “new commitment” at Malvern’s Ouachita River Correctional Unit.

This in not Smith’s first trip to a state facility. He was booked Oct. 4, 2012, into ADC after pleading no contest that September in Columbia County Circuit Court to aggravated robbery stemming from a Dec. 31, 2011, incident in Magnolia. For the conviction, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Since Smith was released early on parole, a hold was placed on him after he was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder and violation of parole in connection to the Nov. 19 homicide. By law, a convicted individual is still subject to an issued prison sentence, and could still go to prison for that term, if he is found to have violated his parole restrictions.

On Nov. 13, Smith was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after serving three months in the facility for violation of parole. Six days later, he was pinpointed as the suspect in Shaw’s homicide that took place around noon Nov. 19 at Norma Street in Magnolia. An arrest warrant was issued Nov. 20.

The suspect was a fugitive until he was found and arrested early Nov. 24 in Bossier City. He was transported back to Arkansas and booked into the Columbia County Detention Center at 6:55 p.m. Nov. 26. He was released officially from the facility at 4:50 a.m. Dec. 4, according to inmate records.

The defendant was issued a $5 million cash bond from a Columbia County judge during his Nov. 26 first appearance. As of Wednesday, it is unknown when he will appear next in Columbia County criminal circuit court.

Smith during his previous stint in ADC was not void of conflict. From 2013 to 2016, he was cited 32 times for “major guilty disciplinary violations” by the prison system as an inmate at ADC’s high-security Varner Unit in Lincoln County. The listed violations included, but were not limited to, battery, possession-manufacture of contraband, individual disruptive behavior, threat(s) to inflict injury, failure to obey orders, group disruption, unexcused absence, and insolence to a staff member.

Smith, according to ADC inmate records, was transferred Aug. 31, 2016, to Varner Super Max where his completion date was listed as Feb. 2, 2018. He was listed as “medium” on the prison’s risk score or level. The inmate was parole or transfer eligible Nov. 4, 2017.

Smith was charged in November during a Thanksgiving week that saw three homicides and one officer-involved death in Magnolia. The defendant’s grandfather, 83-year-old Nathaniel Smith, the morning of Nov. 24 was included as one of those incidents, after he was found deceased from an apparent gunshot wound at a Jeanette Street home in Magnolia.

The homicides are thought to be the first inside the Magnolia city limits since 2012.

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