Court Upholds Conviction in Death Precipitated by Frozen Venison

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state Court of Appeals has upheld the second-degree murder conviction of a man who threw a concrete block during a fight that included the victim using a package of frozen deer meat as a shield.

Robert Singleton Johnson, Jr. was charged after the death of Wendall Davis.  Johnson acknowledged throwing a concrete block at Davis but said Davis had initially thrown something at him.  Johnson believed the item was a brick or a piece of concrete; it was actually frozen ground venison.  But another witness said Johnson threw a brick first.

The defendant sought to throw out statements he made to police after the incident last year in Hot Springs.  The deer meat was seized as evidence but was destroyed before the trial.  A photograph of it was entered into evidence.

The Appeals Court said no one argued that the meat could have been kept cold pending the trial.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)