A Pine Bluff teenager will be charged as an adult in the Friday night shooting death of his mother at a house in the Dollarway area.
On Tuesday, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth ruled prosecutors have probable cause to charge John Kearney with first-degree murder in the death of April Juarez, 39, whose body was found in a bedroom of a house at 29 S. Richard Drive after police were sent to the house at 9:32 p.m. in response to a reported shooting.
Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jason Duren pronounced Juarez dead at the scene of a gunshot wound to the head. The body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office at Little Rock for an autopsy.
According to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Chris Wieland, police dispatchers informed responding officers of a clothing description of the suspect, and they located the suspect, later identified as Kearney, sitting on a couch in the living room of the house.
A witness told police that Kearney had gotten into an argument with Valdez, reportedly over Kearney running away and then returning home. The witness said Kearney got a handgun out of a trunk at the foot of the bed, pointed the gun at Juarez, and pulled the trigger.
Wieland said in the affidavit that Kearney was taken to the juvenile detention center but was not interviewed because his next of kin could not be located.
Bond for Kearney was set at $250,000.
The death was the ninth of the year inside the Pine Bluff city limits and the second in just under a two-hour period Friday.
At about 8 p.m., officers found the body of Terry Smith, 64, inside a vehicle that was found at the intersection of Tulip Street and Howard Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
No suspects have been identified or arrests made in that case, and the investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information should contact the Detective Division at 730-2090 or dispatch at 541-5300. Information can also be shared through the police department’s Facebook page.