Defending someone on a first-degree murder charge some five years after the crime occurred can be a massive undertaking for Arkansas criminal defense counsel. On Dec. 5 two men were arrested and charged with the Sept.8, 2009 murder of a 50-year-old Dover man. Authorities said that the investigation has been ongoing and that it was a joint effort of the Arkansas State Police, the Pope County Sheriff's Office and the prosecuting attorney's office in the Fifth Judicial District.
The two men were also charged with burglary. They are being held at the Pope County Detention Center in lieu of bond. The victim was a former truck driver and an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.
The press release by police states that new information came to light in the past few days and the arrests were made. Authorities indicate a third person suspected of being involved has not yet been arrested. They are also looking at others who may be at the periphery of the investigation and who may have hindered the police investigation.
Each defendant has obtained either appointed public counsel or private counsel at this point. Each attorney has a massive undertaking in learning the history surrounding the 2009 events, and in investigating what has happened since. Basically, an attorney representing a client accused of first degree murder is charged with the duty of trying to dig up every detail and potential exculpatory piece of evidence that may exist.
Because five years have passed, it will be all the more difficult to find and interview witnesses. Ideally, resources will be available for the defendants to hire their own investigators to assist criminal defense counsel. At this point, Arkansas authorities have not revealed the nature of the evidence against the two men nor have they provided a motive for the crime. The two suspects are charged with burglary, which may be an indication that they suspect a murder in the course of a theft of the man's property.
Source: 5newsonline.com, "Arrests Made In 2009 Pope County Murder Case", Curt Lanning, Dec. 8, 2014