The man accused in the Father’s Day double-shooting at a local motel, which left one person dead, appeared in court Monday morning.
Lee Foster, 27, who prosecutors say shot and killed 23-year-old Quenton Alexander, faces charges of capital murder, first-degree battery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a certain person for his alleged involvement in the June 16 fatal shooting at Motel 6, located at 1105 Skyline Drive.
Foster did not speak while he appeared before Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio, although he was seen prior to his appearance, talking, smiling and gesturing to audience members of the courtroom and other inmates, most notably, Sierra Cook, 18, who is charged with hindering the apprehension of Foster.
Both Foster and Cook were arrested June 20 in Morrilton.
The two defendants, whose cases are being tried separately, last appeared in court July 8 for arraignment.
The Log Cabin Democrat previously reported the two were seen laughing and talking with one another at their arraignments. Foster was also seen laughing and talking with other inmates, and also stood up, gestured and whistled at certain audience members of the courtroom, after pleading not guilty to his multiple charges.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Troy Braswell asked the court Monday to begin separating the court dates of Foster and Cook.
Braswell said the victim’s family has grown tired of observing the defendants’ actions while present in the courtroom.
“They’re tired of seeing the capital murder suspect in their family member’s death, laughing and joking,” Braswell said.
During a June press conference, in which Chief of Police A.J. Gary and Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland announced the two suspects’ arrest and charges, Gary stated that Foster and the victim, Alexander, were related, although he was not sure of the exact relation, and had been involved in an “ongoing dispute.”
The Associated Press later reported that the two were cousins.
Maggio granted the prosecution’s request, and set Foster’s next appearance for Sept. 9. Cook’s next hearing, a pre-trial date that will also include a bond reduction hearing, was scheduled for Aug. 28.
Cook is currently being held in lieu of a $250,000 bond. Cook’s attorney, Frank Shaw, has argued with the court that his client’s bond is “extremely high” for a class B felony.
Court documents show Shaw filed a motion Thursday, requesting a bond hearing. Both the prosecution and defense stated they were unable to notify possible witnesses for the hearing in such a short period of time.
If convicted of hindering, Cook faces five to 20 years in prison.
Foster has been approved for representation by a public defender, however, a specific attorney has not been assigned the case.
Given the case is a capital murder case, and prosecution has not waived the death penalty, if Foster is convicted, he would face death or life in prison. The Arkansas Public Defender Commission’s minimum standards, among other requirements, states the lead counsel must have prior experience in a case which the death penalty was sought.
The minimum standards also state that two “qualified attorneys” will be assigned to the defendant.
Deputy Public Defender Karen Walker Knight, who represented Foster during his appearance Monday, told the court the commission has been contacted, and is still awaiting acknowledgement from the commission.
Braswell stated the prosecution needed additional time to gather all discovery items in Foster’s case, but expected to receive the files late this week or early next week.
The fatal motel double-shooting Foster is alleged to be responsible for occurred around 1:30 a.m. on Father’s Day.
Officers responded to the scene around 1:39 a.m., and found the surviving victim with a gunshot wound in the side. Police also located Alexander shot to death, lying beside a car in the parking lot.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)