FOUKE, Ark.—A 12-year-old boy arrested in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store clerk in south Arkansas is facing a capital murder charge, a prosecutor said.
A newspaper carrier found the clerk unresponsive early Thursday at a gas station in Fouke, about 140 miles southwest of Little Rock and near the state’s borders with Texas and Louisiana. The Miller County Sheriff’s Office said the clerk, identified as 21-year-old Christa Shockley, was pronounced dead a short time later.
The boy was arrested later Thursday and police recovered the gun they believe used in the shooting.
“Our feelings have run the gamut of grief, shock, dismay and disbelief,” Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis said. “We’re a small town, and we’re all family and close-knit. It’s like it happened to your own family,” he said.
The boy is being held in a juvenile detention center on preliminary charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery.
The boy cannot be charged as an adult under state law, Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black told the Texarkana Gazette. Generally speaking, a juvenile can be held until his or her 21st birthday. In some cases, such as capital murder, a judge can decide whether release is then appropriate or if the individual should serve time in an adult prison, she said.
Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson ordered the boy’s detention, and his next hearing is set for Wednesday, Black said.