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BRTC Black History Month event to feature Michael Eubanks


POCAHONTAS — Black River Technical College in collaboration with the Eddie Mae Herron Center, will host a Black History Month event at 10 a.m.

Feb. 29 at the Randolph County Development Center on the Pocahontas BRTC campus, 1410 Arkansas 304 East.

This year’s presentation is entitled “An Introduction to Arkansas Musicians” presented by saxophonist and vocalist Michael Eubanks.

An Arkansas native, Eubanks has been a performing artist, sound engineer and educator for over three decades, and served in the U.S. Army. He will also give a jazz performance and take questions after the presentation.

According to a press release, Eubanks studied music and performed in various music ensembles at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock throughout the early to mid-2000s. He has performed in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia.

He became known as a saxophonist and vocalist in south Arkansas and Monroe beginning in the winter of 1996. His popularity increased in the summer of 1998 when he performed at the River Market Amphitheatre in Little Rock as the opening act for “Jazz Lights 98,” which featured wellknown recording artist Jonathan Butler, Gerald Albright, and jazz guitarist, Earl Klugh.

Eubanks is on the Board of Directors of the Robert L. Brack Music Scholarship fund and a member of the Arkansas Arts Council. He owns JBM Entertainment Production and is a partner of the Creative Talent Council. For more information or to RSVP, contact BRTC Development Specialist Shawna Lepard at 870-248-4026 or shawna.lepard

JONESBORO — A Craighead County Circuit Court jury found Shadrack Ward guilty of first-degree murder Thursday night in the Nov. 21, 2021, strangulation death of his girlfriend, Sabrina Benson.

Ward was sentenced to 70 years in prison by Circuit Judge Scott Ellington, who followed the jury’s recommendation.

While the jury was deliberating, Ellington also sentenced Ward to 18 years in prison, without parole, for a 2013

See STATE, page A10

Photo courtesy of BRTC

Saxophonist and vocalist Michael Eubanks will present “An Introduction to Arkansas Musicians” at 10 a.m. Feb. 29 at the Randolph County Development Center on the Pocahontas BRTC campus, 1410 Arkansas 304 East. He will give a jazz performance. The event is hosted in collaboration with the Eddie Mae Herron Center.


From page A3

arson case and a 2014 charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Ward had previously been given probation for the offenses. The sentences were for revocation of probation.

On the murder charge, Ward was accused of killing Benson, 42, at his home in the 200 block of Clover Drive in the early morning hours.

Jonesboro Fire Department personnel, who responded to a 911 call made by Ward, found the body of Benson in a hallway of the house and tried to resuscitate her. On Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Davidson told jurors that by his own admission, Ward caused Benson’s death. Ward had confessed to Jonesboro police Detective Bill Brown in February 2022 that he grabbed Benson by the throat with both hands after the two of them argued over Ward’s leaving the house to go drinking.

She said that the medical examiner’s report concluded there was no other cause of death than homicide by strangulation or blunt force trauma to Benson’s head.

Davidson said the report stated there were no natural causes of death.

On Thursday, Prosecuting Attorney Sonia Hagood expressed her gratitude, saying, “The verdict reflects the firm stance of Craighead County against domestic violence. My heartfelt appreciation goes to the Jonesboro Police Department, Arkansas State Crime Lab Medical Examiner, Dr. Stephen Erikson for their unwavering commitment to this case. “I also want to thank victim advocate Kassie Boles, who spend countless hours with this family for her commitment to getting justice in this case.”

Thomason underscored the severity of domestic violence, saying, “A history of intimate partner strangulation elevates the risk of fatality by tenfold.

This verdict sends a resolute message. My sincere thanks to the jury for their attentive service, and to Sabrina’s loved ones for their steadfast pursuit of justice.”


53-year-old man arrested in rape, sexual assault case

PARAGOULD — A Greene County man is being held without bond, awaiting a court date after his arrest Friday in a rape and sexual assault case.

Greene County deputies arrested Larry Kevin King, 53, of Paragould on a felony bench warrant after an investigation. King was arrested on suspicion of two counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault in the 2nd degree and three counts of sexual indecency with a child.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the investigation began Feb. 6 after the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline received a report from the victim in the case.

The victim told investigators about sex acts that were done by a male acquaintance, deputies said in the affidavit. The victim was later interviewed by the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division.

According to the affidavit, the victim told authorities that King was a family acquaintance and that he was allowed to go out of town with King on several occasions.

The victim told authorities that soon after he met King, King began buying the victim 'all kinds of alcohol' and tried to get him to drink. The victim also said after he drank the alcohol, King would expose himself and try to get the victim to touch him, according to the affidavit.

The investigation into the case is still ongoing, according to authorities.


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