A five man, seven woman jury heard opening arguments last week before Ethan J. Lovelace, 23 of Paris, ultimately accepted a 20-year plea agreement for aggravated robbery.
The jury panel, along with two alternates, was seated Monday morning, April 21 and after opening statements by 15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Brian Mueller and public defender Michael Allison, court was in recess for a lunch break.
Rather than proceed, Lovelace, 22, took the plea deal, which included a 20-year sentence for the most serious of four offenses he was facing. Lovelace had also been charged with theft of property, aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Victims told police that on Jan. 30 Lovelace, pointed a shotgun at a woman who has cancer, her 5-year old child and a man inside Lovelace’s mother’s home in Magazine where they were staying.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit the victims said Lovelace left the home with several medications – including Diazepam, Oxycodone, Methadone and Imitriz, which had been refilled the previous day, of which Lovelace was aware, according to the victim — $50 in cash, an article of clothing and a cell phone.
Charged as co-defendants in the case are Tara Vaughan, 34 of Paris, and Haskal Dylan Swanson, 24 of Paris.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit Lovelace reportedly told Vaughan to hold a weapon on the female and child while he escorted the male to collect the items he had demanded, and to kill either if they moved.
Vaughan, the arrest warrant affidavit asserts, agreed to do so.
According to the affidavit, Lovelace apparently became enraged because he felt abandoned when the three victims could not awaken him at a Paris residence, and for extracting a cell phone from him while he slept at the request of the Lovelace’s mother.
Lovelace was taken into custody when found hiding in a shed behind a Fort Smith residence on Feb. 4. Found in the shed were 98 Oxycodone pills, drug paraphernalia and approximately one gram of a white crystal substance.
The local case was initially filed as a Northern District case but was in March transferred to the Southern District of Logan County.