A Pine Bluff man accused of killing one person and shooting three others in December could be put to death if he is convicted by a jury.

A Pine Bluff man accused of killing one person and shooting three others in December could be put to death if he is convicted by a jury.

Courtney Lewis, 26, is charged with 17 offenses, 15 of them felonies. During a court hearing Wednesday, Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter said the state would ask the jury to impose the death penalty if they find Lewis guilty.

Lewis, who is currently held at the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Brickey’s Unit on a parole violation, is charged with one count of capital murder stemming from the shooting death of Kenneth Davis, 46, who was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the head on Dec. 16 after Lewis allegedly tried to steal Davis’ vehicle at the E-Z Mart on North University Drive.

Before allegedly shooting Davis, Lewis also allegedly shot Jeffrey Smith, 28, Latoya Curry, 31, and Rhonda Robinson, 20, and is charged with three counts of first-degree battery stemming from those injuries.

“We’re advising the Public Defender’s Office (which was appointed to represent Lewis) and putting the court on notice,” Hunter said during Lewis’ arraignment.

Prosecutors will be filing a pleading with the court later outlining their reasons for seeking the death penalty, which Hunter said would include his prior violent offenses, the crimes were committed for pecuniary gain, and the multiple violent offenses for which Lewis is currently charged.

Other charges

Other charges against Lewis include three counts of aggravated assault — two involving law enforcement officers and the third in the Davis homicide — two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of terroristic threatening, a Class Y felony, one count of terroristic threatening, a Class B felony, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one felony count of theft by force, one misdemeanor count of theft of property, and one misdemeanor count of third-degree escape.

While Circuit Judge Berlin C. Jones was reading each of the charges, Lewis, who was brought back to Pine Bluff from Brickey’s Wednesday morning, walked around the podium several times, staring at the ceiling and toward a small group of people who were in the courtroom.

Police said the Dec. 16 incident began when Lewis, who was driving a stolen car and accompanied by Smith, was traveling down the Martha Mitchell Expressway when he saw a person he knew driving another vehicle and Lewis allegedly told Smith he was going to “hit a lick” (rob the other person,) later identified as Kentrell Hunt, 21.

Lewis reportedly got out of his vehicle and Smith tried to drive away but Lewis returned and reportedly shot Smith in the arm, then got back into the vehicle and drove a short distance before wrecking the car. Before the Smith shooting, Lewis reportedly fired a shot at Hunt’s vehicle but missed, and after allegedly shooting Smith, drove to the E-Z Mart where he got out of the vehicle while it was still running and the vehicle then rolled into the building.

Police said Lewis then tried to hijack a vehicle containing Curry, Robinson, and four children, ages 13-9-6-4, then fired shots into the car, hitting both women, one in the leg, the other in the arm.

Lewis then reportedly confronted Davis, who worked for Evergreen Packaging and was a graduate of Dollarway High School, who was standing beside his vehicle when he was shot. Lewis then reportedly got into the vehicle and turned north on University Drive where he hit a light pole.

At the scene

Officer James Huff, the first officer on the scene, reported seeing the vehicle and turned on his blue lights when Lewis allegedly pointed a gun at Huff, but did not fire any shots. Detective James Dixon, who arrived shortly after Huff, began firing shots at Lewis, who fled into the ravine on the north side of the ambulance service office.

Officer Jeremy Oswalt went into the ravine after Lewis, followed by Sheriff’s Sgt. Andy Hoots and Lewis reportedly had a “black object” in his hand when the officers first saw him, then nothing.

After Lewis reportedly refused several commands to halt and show his hands, Hoots deployed his Tazer with the prongs hitting Lewis in the back and Lewis going underwater.

When Oswalt and Hoots tried to pick up Lewis, he allegedly grabbed Oswalt and pulled him under water, then pulled Hoots under while Oswalt tried to subdue him. Several other officers arrived and were able to subdue Lewis and get handcuffs and leg irons on him.

Because Lewis had been hit by a Tazer, he was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he escaped from custody for 30 to 45 minutes, prompting a search before being found hiding in a storage closet.

After Lewis was arrested, police said they believed he was on drugs, probably a combination of cocaine and PCP that users commonly smoke. The drug combination is called “Wet” on the streets.

At the time of the shooting, Lewis was on probation after pleading guilty to one count of first-degree battery and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm stemming from an arrest in 2009.

The judge said Lewis was placed on 72 months probation on each count on Oct. 26, 2011, with the sentences to run concurrently (at the same time.)

A petition to revoke that probation was filed Dec, 28, 2011, alleging that in addition to the new charges, Lewis had tested positive for alcohol and PCP, had failed to report for drug treatment and been dropped from a drug class, owned fines, fees, court costs and supervision fees.

Had Lewis not entered the plea, he could have been sentenced to five to 20 years on each charge, and be fined up to $15,000 on each count.

At the request of Deputy Prosecutor Cymber Gieringer, Jones set a hearing on revoking Lewis’ probation on May 8 at 1:30 p.m., separate and apart from any court action on the new charges.

Facing charges

Because Lewis has four or more prior felony convictions, prosecutors will be charging him as a habitual offender, meaning that in addition to the possible death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole on the one count of capital murder, he could receive no less than 10 years and no more than life on each of the four non-capital Class Y felonies, no less than five years and no more than 40 years on each of the six Class B felonies, no more than 15 years on each of the four Class D felonies, and no more than one year in the county jail on each of the Class A misdemeanor, as well as fines.