New details released in Pixler case

New details released in Pixler case
Byron Ford (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)
Rodney Watkins (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)
Rodney Watkins (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)
Dewaun Logan (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)
Dewaun Logan (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The three people accused of the kidnapping and aggravated robbery in the death of a woman last year in Jonesboro planned out the crime for some time, Jonesboro police said Wednesday.

Dawaun Christopher Logan of Earle and Byron Dewayne Ford of Lepanto were arrested last November, while Rodney A. Watkins of West Memphis was arrested in December after a months' long investigation by Jonesboro police.

The three had been sought in connection with the Sept. 25 death of Loretta Pixler at the Dollar Tree on Red Wolf Boulevard. Authorities said Pixler was kidnapped from the parking lot and taken on I-555 in Poinsett County where she was dumped out of the vehicle.

Jonesboro police released the entire incident report Wednesday afternoon in connection with the case.

According to a 22-page incident report in which police interviewed at least a dozen people, officers said they spoke to Watkins on Nov. 16 and Logan on Nov. 23.

Detective Shay Racy said he began to ask Watkins about what happened that night.

"Rodney told me that while in the vehicle sitting on Hays parking lot, Dawaun changed clothes and put on black sweats," Racy said, noting Watkins said he was in the backseat with Logan and Ford while another person was in the front seat. "Rodney advised they dropped Dawaun off around the back of the building and then drove back around to the front of the building and waited nearby where they could see."

Watkins told Racy he got on the phone with Logan as Logan got into position, police said.

"He advised Dawaun had a chrome and black 9mm pistol with the handles off of it," Racy said. "He advised the cut was supposed to be an even split between them if they were successful in getting the money. Rodney told me that he was still on the phone as Dawaun came from behind the column and began ordering Loretta (Pixler) and Cody (McClendon) at gunpoint."

Watkins also told police that once Logan was in the car with Pixler, he picked the phone back up and Watkins guided him out of Jonesboro while they followed in Ford's car close by, the report noted.

"Rodney advised the call dropped as they were exiting Jonesboro, so there were several calls back and forth from Byron's phone to and from Dawaun as well as from his phone to and from Dawaun. He advised the conversation at this point was about what to do with Loretta and her car and how to get back together. Rodney advised the plan was to let Byron's car pass then make her pull over and put her out on side of the road. Then Dawaun was supposed to drive off in her car and meet back up with them so they could dispose of the vehicle then pick Dawaun up."

Watkins told police that Logan threatened Pixler by saying, "I know where you stay" if she spoke to authorities, Racy said.

Racy said in the report that Logan admitted pointing the gun at Pixler before kidnapping her.

"Dawaun advised (he) ran up to Loretta Pixler and pointed a gun at her demanding money. He advised he then went over to Cody McClendon and grabbed his phone from him since he was on the phone," Racy said. "He advised the phone fell to the ground and cracked, so he picked it up then ran back to where Loretta was."

Logan reportedly told police he got into Pixler's back seat while she drove off, continuing to demand money, police said.

"He advised he told her to drive while he held her at gunpoint. He advised he picked the phone back up and Rodney was there to guide him out of town and tell him where to turn," Racy said. "I asked him about why the conversation between he and Rodney came to a halt after eight minutes, and he told me that the phone call dropped on their way out of town."

Logan said he also spoke with Pixler, the police report noted.

"There was dialogue between him and Loretta as they drove down the highway. He advised she was trying to talk him out of doing what they were doing. He advised she told him if he would just let her go, she would not tell the police and would not identify him," Racy said, noting Logan also spoke with Ford and Watkins by phone. "Dawaun advised as they approached the area where Loretta was later found dead, they all agreed to drop her off on the side of the road and for him to take the car. Dawaun advised the agreement was for him not to stop until they passed him and then after she was dropped to catch up with so they could dispose of her vehicle.

According to the report, Ford denied having anything to do with the incident and told police he was in Lepanto that night.

However, Racy said in his report that phone records from Ford's cell phone "shows to be in places consistent with the route taken by the suspects during this incident."

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