Jury Convicts West Memphis Man of Capital Murder in Trooper's Death

DECEMBER 1, 2006 - Posted at 5:51 a.m. CST

FORREST CITY, AR - A West Memphis man has been convicted of capital murder in the 2005 death of an Arkansas State Police trooper who was struck by another officer's patrol car in a police chase on Interstate 40.  Since prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for 27-year-old Wesley Jefferson, he will serve a sentence of life in prison without parole, the only other penalty for capital murder under Arkansas law.

Jefferson was also convicted of aggravated robbery, theft by receiving and fleeing charges related to the September 11, 2005 pursuit that ended in the death of 31-year-old Corporal Mark W. Carthron.

In the sentencing phase, jurors decided on a total of 36 years for the robbery, theft and fleeing convictions.  That sentence will be served at the same time as the life without parole term.

Prosecutors said Jefferson and Reginald Dixon were fleeing police after an armed robbery at a Shell service station in Forrest City when Carthron put down a spike strip to stop the stolen car.  The vehicle slid to a stop and Jefferson and Dixon were arrested.

Carthron was struck by another trooper's car when he went to pick up the strip.  He later died as a hospital.

Dixon faces the same charges and has not yet been tried.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)