3 wanted in connection to murder turn themselves in

Police: T-shirt led to murder; 7 arrested

3 wanted in connection to murder turn themselves in

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Three people wanted in connection to a murder on Walls Street that may have stemmed from a T-shirt turned themselves in Tuesday afternoon, according to Blytheville police.

According to Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson and Captain John Fraizer, 26-year-old Wilvontae Westmorland, 25-year-old Joel Williams Jr., and 22-year-old Tyree Johnson surrendered themselves without incident.

All three men are being held on first-degree murder charges with $225,000 bonds set on Wednesday, Blytheville police said.

Wilvontae Westmorland
Wilvontae Westmorland (Source: Mississippi Co. Sheriff's Office)
Joel Williams Jr.
Joel Williams Jr. (Source: Mississippi Co. Sheriff's Office)
Tyree Johnson
Tyree Johnson (Source: Mississippi Co. Sheriff's Office)

As of April 8, Shyheim Carter, 26, Laquincy Nance Jr., 25, Deontay Penny, 24, and Derrick Penny, 25, all of Blytheville were in custody on suspicion of murder-1st degree in the shooting.

According to a media release from Blytheville police, officers got a call around 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 7 about multiple shots being fired in the southeast side of town.

“Officers located and confronted suspects at Denny and Walls Street, armed with assault rifles, as they attempted to fled the area in an SUV,” police said.

Officers were able to block the SUV from leaving and arrested the four suspects, police said. Officers also found Jamion Sims, 26, of Blytheville shot inside the SUV. Sims later died.

Police said Derrick Penny was also shot and received a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

According to an online inmate listing from the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, Carter, Nance and Deontay Penny were also arrested on suspicion of hindering apprehension, terroristic act, and engaging in a continuing crime gang or enterprise.

As for a motive, police believe the four suspects had gotten into a shoot-out with three additional suspects, who were on foot, near Myrtle and Walls. Those suspects are Willvontae Westmorland,, 26, Joel Williams, 25, and Tyree Johnson, 22, all of Blytheville, police said.

Murder warrants were also issued for Westmorland, Williams and Johnson.

Officers believe each of the suspects were already under investigation for criminal gang activity in Blytheville, noting Skycop cameras played a huge role in the investigation.

Several area homes and vehicles were also damaged in the gunfire, police said.

Also, police said the shooting showed a willful disregard for human life.

“Amazingly, nobody else was injured in this reckless act in which the suspects clearly had no regard for the value of life,” Police Chief Ross Thompson said. “We are also looking into the possibility that a T-shirt may have prompted these 20-plus-year-old’s to engage in this shooting that resulted in the loss of life.”

Thompson said police are looking to both state and federal charges in the case.

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