Dent Charged With Capital Murder

March 4, 2003
Posted at: 3:23 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, Ark. -- A Jonesboro man remains in jail tonight after being formally charged with capital murder in the death of a 24-year-old woman.

Brandon Hogan Dent was in Craighead County District Court Tuesday afternoon. The 25-year-old Dent was taken into custody Monday at a Jonesboro convenience store, following an anonymous tip to police. Initially, he was taken to St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center in Jonesboro for what police called "injuries suffered prior to police appearing on the scene." Witness reports indicated that Dent had ingested a cleaning solution, possibly Drano, prior to being taken into custody by police.

Dent was later released by the medical center, and spent Monday night in the Craighead County Jail. He remained there Tuesday until he was taken to court for a probable cause hearing.

In court, Dent sat expressionless as Judge Ray Spruell spoke with him and asked questions about the disappearance and murder of 24-year-old Leann Cowan. Both of Dent's hands were bandaged at the hearing. Investigators explained to the judge that his injuries were consistent with those which result in a struggle with someone.

Dent was told he was the last one to see Cowan alive, and that evidence recovered at the scene, including shoe prints, linked him to the murder.

Criminal investigators discovered that Dent had been staying inside the car belonging to Cowan in a wooded area off of Highway 351 in Greene County. They went onto say that Dent had been using her cellular phone, and had it with him when he was arrested.

Because of this evidence, a 1997 conviction for domestic violence, and a failure to appear warrant from a theft case, deputy prosecutor Mike Walden asked Spruell to deny bond on the capital murder charge. The judge agreed.

"Anytime you charge capital murder," Walden said. "You're charging the most serious crime that Arkansas law contemplates. We thought that the request for no bond based on what we know are the facts, and what I think the press has been made aware of some of the facts on this case. We thought that was appropriate under the circumstances and agree with the court's ruling."

Walden says he'll be pushing to prove that this murder was premeditated, which could lead to the death penalty under Arkansas Law.

"Keep in mind that this is very early in the investigation," Walden said. "There's a lot of evidence that's been transported to the crime lab. A lot of evidence that still needs to be processed. Those things may effect the ultimate charge, but as it stands right now that's the charge that we anticipate, and that's the charge that's been filed."

Dent's next date in court is scheduled for April 29.