Downtown shooting suspect no longer facing murder charge

Downtown shooting suspect no longer facing murder charge

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Prosecutors have dropped murder and battery charges against one of the men accused in the deadly downtown shooting last Mother's Day.

Chauncey Thomas, 20, and Kalius "KK" Lane, 21, of Jonesboro were each charged with one count of first-degree murder and six counts of first-degree battery in the May 14 shooting at the Basement Under Main, 311 S. Main, that injured six people and left Monterio Barnes dead.

But on Tuesday, according to court documents, the Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's Office amended the charges against Thomas to one count of hindering apprehension.

Thomas appeared before Second District Circuit Judge Cindy Thyer with his lawyer and entered a guilty plea to the amended charge.

Thyer accepted his plea and gave him 60 months suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) and ordered him to pay court costs and fees.

As part of his plea agreement, Thomas was also ordered to have no-contact with the Barnes family and to provide "truthful testimony" in the pending trial against Lane.

The judge nolle prossed the original charges.

According to the motion to amend the charge, filed Friday, Feb. 16, the prosecution's decision to amend the charges against Thomas came after questioning more than 20 witnesses and potential witnesses.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Grant DeProw stated, "There is not sufficient basis on which to proceed against this defendant."

The motion also stated that there was "available forensic evidence" suggesting there were two shooters. The prosecutor would not disclose the identity of the second shooter pending further investigation.

"However, the available forensic evidence does not establish the identity of both shooters," the documents said.

DeProw further stated in the motion that "a number of witnesses" had stepped forward since the initial investigation.

"The statements of these witnesses suggest the identity of the second shooter and exonerate this defendant," the motion stated.

However, the prosecuting attorney determined that Thomas did "harbor and conceal co-defendant Kalius Lane immediately following this incident, with the purpose to hinder his apprehension and prosecution."

Lane is still charged with one count of first-degree murder and six counts of first-degree battery. On Tuesday, Judge Thyer issued an order of continuance in his case, setting his jury trial to begin June 18, 2018.

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