BENTONVILLE – Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren cited a covid-19 outbreak among his staff as the reason for postponing a motions hearing for a woman from Pine Bluff accused of killing a Pea police officer Ridge.
Shawna Cash, 22, is charged with capital murder, escape, flight, two counts of aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, criminal mischief, obstructing government operations and reckless driving. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors are calling for the death penalty.
Cash and Elijah Michael Andazola are charged with the murder of Pea Ridge cop Kevin Apple.
Karren was due to hear several motions filed in the Cash case on Friday morning. He told lawyers that a covid-19 outbreak occurred on Tuesday with his staff and that he did not want to expose anyone to the virus.
Friday’s brief hearing took place via video. Cash wore a mask at the Benton County Jail as lawyers were in various locations.
Karren postponed the hearing to April 15.
Apple died on June 26 at the White Oak station in Pea Ridge when he was hit by a jeep and dragged about 149 feet, court documents show. Apple, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cash was driving the Jeep; Andazola was a passenger, according to court documents. Cash and Andazola are being held without bond in the Benton County Jail.
Apple and Officer Brian Stamps responded to a call around 11:30 a.m. on June 26 looking for a Jeep fleeing from Rogers Police. They saw the Jeep at the White Oak station, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The two officers parked at both ends of the Jeep, which was parked at gas pumps, and attempted to speak with Cash and Andazola, according to the affidavit. According to court documents, Cash, while driving the Jeep, crashed into one of the Pea Ridge police vehicles, then rolled over Apple, dragging it, then fled west on Slack Street, according to reports. court documents.
Andazola, 19, of Bentonville is charged with aiding and abetting capital murder and escape. He had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors have filed aggravating circumstances in the Cash case, which is necessary in death penalty cases.
The factors listed in Cash’s case include that the murder was committed to avoid arrest and to disrupt or interfere with the lawful performance of any government or political office. In addition, the murder was committed in a “particularly cruel and depraved manner”, according to court documents.
Aggravating circumstances have not been filed in the case of Andazola.