JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The man accused of murdering a Jonesboro woman spent days responding to text messages on the woman's phone, a move that ultimately caused suspicion among family and friends.
Authorities arrested Shawn Gregory Cone in Key West, Florida. On Thursday, he made his first appearance in court to face several charges, including homicide.
According to the Jonesboro Police Department, officers were called to a home on the 5000-block of Brac Place on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
Officers found Alissa Reynolds, 50, of Jonesboro dead in the home.
A probable cause affidavit outlined why friends and family became concerned for her well-being after text messages and her dogs being loose in the yard sparked suspicion.
One witness told officers she was supposed to meet Reynolds for lunch around 12 p.m. on Dec. 8. Instead, she received a text message from Reynolds’ phone, saying she had been in an accident and at a hospital in Jonesboro.
The witnesses said they visited the home on Brac Place at one point on Dec. 8 and noticed the dogs running loose in the house and a pile of blankets on the sofa. They thought this was odd because “she kept the dogs in a kennel when she was not there and kept the house clean.”
During the welfare check, officers said they were able to “smell an odor emitting from the residence which they know to be that of decomposition.”
Once officers entered Reynolds’ home, they found her dead on the sofa, underneath the pile of blankets.
She had been dead for several days, according to the affidavit.
Officers noticed Reynolds’ body had multiple puncture wounds to the face, hands, and arms.
While investigating, officers learned Shawn Cone also lived at the address.
Cone and Reynolds had been dating for the past year and a half.
Neighbors told officers they saw Cone driving Reynolds’ car two days before she was found dead.
“During the investigation, detectives were able to determine Shawn Cone had cleaned up the crime scene and disposed of the evidence,” the affidavit stated.
Investigators also believe Cone had stolen Reynolds’ vehicle, personal and work cell phones, credit cards and debit cards.
Officers ultimately tracked him down to Key West, Florida and contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
When it was arrested, police found over $8,000 in cash, Reynolds’ credit cards and a list of countries that do not have extradition agreements with the U.S.
Cuba was on that list and it was circled.
The CBP then notified the Monroe County, FL Sheriff’s Office and American Airlines, according to the Florida sheriff’s office.
The airline confirmed to the sheriff’s office that Cone was on the plane and provided a seat number.
When the plane landed at Key West International Airport at 11:45 a.m. Monday, deputies arrested Cone.
Cone was later extradited back to Arkansas, where he faced a judge on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.
During his extradition, Cone tried to escape from law enforcement during a bathroom break.
District Judge David Boling set his bond at $5 million cash-only.
Cone faces the following charges:
- first-degree murder
- abuse of a corpse
- Theft of vehicle valued at less than 25,000 but greater than 5,000
- Theft of 5,000 or less but great than 1,000
- Theft of property - credit/debit cards
- Non-financial identity fraud
- tampering with physical evidence
- fraudulent use of a credit card/card or account number is stolen
As part of the bond, Boling set a precision that if Cone were to make bond, Cone must also surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.
Cone will be arraigned Feb. 28 in circuit court on the murder charge.
This is not Cone’s first run-in with the law.
In September, a judge found probable cause to charge him with theft greater than $5,000 after police say he cashed more than $17,000 worth of stolen checks.
A judge originally set his bond in that case at $10,000 but on Feb. 10, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington asked for that bond be revoked.
Ellington said Cone is a flight risk and Judge Cindy Thyer honored that revocation and set the bond to $100,000 in the theft case.
According to the affidavit, Cone cashed four checks made out to Arkansas Flooring Contractors, including one from the Paragould School District.
He was set to appear in circuit court for arraignment on Dec. 30, according to online court records.
In 2012, Baxter County sheriff’s deputies arrested him on suspicion of defrauding a secured creditor and theft of property after investigators said he sold his houseboat for $275,000 to a Mountain Home man. However, according to court records, Cone had not paid off the loan on the boat to release the bank’s secured collateral interest.
Three years later, after submitting a negotiated plea of guilty, Cone was ordered to pay $191,500 restitution, along with other court costs and fees, at a rate of $500 a month.
According to a motion filed on Nov. 20 of this year, Cone had not made a restitution payment to the bank since August.
Police thanked U.S. Customs and Border Control, Department of Homeland Security’s office in Key West, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, local, and federal agencies for their help in the arrest.
The investigation is still ongoing and if you have any information, you are urged to call Jonesboro police at 870-935-5657 on Jonesboro Crimestoppers at 870-935-STOP (7867).