July 27, 2016
2:50 am
Rain: 7am to 7am: .12"  Month: 5.13”  Year: 32.04"  |  Recorded temps:  High: 90 Low: 73
Local news stories
     A Newton County roadway will undergo road construction beginning this week. According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Highway 7 will experience alternating lane closures south of Jasper ...Read More
         The Ava teen who was shot in the parking lot of Ava High School Monday morning remained in intensive care at a Springfield hospital as of Monday afternoon. ...Read More
     The Flippin School Board met in regular session Monday night. Superintendent Kelvin Hudson has the report. Listen: right-click to download ...Read More
     A citywide, two-percent sales tax on hotel rooms has helped fund the upcoming 6A boys state golf tournament and two robotics competitions.      In their last meeting, the Mountain Home ...Read More
                 Help is available for low-income households struggling with energy costs this summer according to Blaine Lawerence, Ozark Opportunities Programs ...Read More
     The Buffalo National River Partners (BNRP) will continue their "Getting to Know Your National Parks" series this month. Casey Johannsen is scheduled to present a program about the beauty and splendor of Acadia National ...Read More
        The Fulton County Fair Horse Show will be held Tuesday, July 26, beginning at 6 in the evening in the Clayton-Plumlee-Walling Arena.     Christi Shaver of the Horse Show sponsors, ...Read More
     Baxter Regional Medical Center has announced Dr. Ryan Krafft has joined the team of Interventional Pain Management at the hospital.      A doctor of osteopathic medicine, Krafft is a graduate ...Read More
     Emergency personnel are on the scene of a one vehicle accident that occurred about 4:30 Monday afternoon on U. S. Highway 62 and Baxter County Road 4. The Baxter County 911 Office did not know the extent number of ...Read More
    (START AUDIO) Listen: right-click to download mp3          That's Rodney-Jordan Fire Chief Mike Slice on the fire that destroyed a Jordan home this morning. ...Read More
    The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office responded to a death at 3267 CR 72 in the Lone Rock area on Saturday morning. According to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, a 911 call was received from that residence at approximately ...Read More
               One teenager is dead after police say he shot and killed himself.      Officers say the teenager shot another teenager three times. ...Read More
         ASUMH Scholarship Recipients Cassandra Denise Aguiar, Salem - Academic Distinction Paige Allen, Mountain Home - Academic Distinction Elizabeth Anderson, Norfork - Academic Distinction Jenny ...Read More
              The theme for the Fulton County Fair, opening Monday, July 25, is: 'It takes a community to make a fair.' Carolyn Lewis of the Fulton County Fair Association says there ...Read More
         The Cotter School Board met in regular session this past Thursday. Superintendent Chad Harp has the report. Listen: right-click to download ...Read More
     A home in Jordan was lost to a fire early Monday morning. Firefighters from Rodney, Pineville and Norfork responded to the call around 4:30.      According to a member of the Norfork Fire ...Read More
        According to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Arkansas has stayed stable at 3.8 percent for the months of May and June this year. Locally, ...Read More
         Sales tax totals for Baxter County and its municipalities are up 2.6% from 2015 at this time according to Baxter County Treasurer Jenay Mize. Taxes from January to July 2015 were $2,128,051,15 and ...Read More
        The Ozark Earth Science Club of Mountain Home held its fundraiser, the Gem and Mineral Show, at the Baxter County Fair Grounds on Saturday and Sunday. The annual event hosted exhibits and vendors from ...Read More
        Locals will have the opportunity to improve their skills creating spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel Tuesday evenings beginning this week at the Twin Lakes Literacy Council.     The ...Read More
              The Marion County Fair and Livestock Show Board meeting will be held Monday night at 6:30 at the community building at the Fairgrounds in Summit. This public is ...Read More
     Nicholas Roos, who was sentenced to life without parole in a double murder case involving an elderly Midway couple, is now attempting to back out of his guilty plea.
     Roos, Zach Grayham and Mikayla Mynk allegedly entered the home of Donald and Ladonna Rice November 7th last year, killed them, robbed the house and then torched the residence.
     The bodies of the Rice couple were found in the rubble of their home several days after the fire and the remains were identified by the State Medical Examiner.
     Roos, Mynk and Grayham were arrested within days of the event.
     Roos, who was sentenced May 24th, has filed handwritten motions asking that his guilty plea be withdrawn. He alleges that his decision to plead guilty was "coerced" and that his attorneys did an inadequate job of representing him. Two attorneys on the staff of the Arkansas Public Defender's Commission represented Roos.
     At least in the initial filings, Roos is acting as his own attorney. In addition, a court order has been issued granting him permission to proceed as a person who does not have the funds to hire a lawyer or to pay for the production of the various documents and records that he might need in seeking post-conviction relief.
     Roos had other cases pending in which he faced a number of charges. Eventually, most of those were dismissed or folded into the guilty plea he made to the more serious capital murder and arson charges.
     In his petition to withdraw his guilty plea, Roos writes that he had been in a mental institution at one time for "hurting himself" and that he had subsequently developed a serious drug problem that left him with "mental and physical illnesses".  He contends in his petition that despite these mental problems, his attorneys failed to approach the court about ordering what he described as "competency tests".
     Roos further alleges that he had been told that it would be difficult to mount a defense for him and that if he insisted on going before a jury, he would most likely be sentenced to death. He alleges that while in the Baxter County jail, he was informed at one point that if he "told what he knew", his girlfriend (Mikayla Mynk) would be released.  He said he made a "short statement" with no lawyer present.
     Before a plea is accepted in Baxter County Circuit Court, the defendant initials that he has read each section of the document laying out the plea and sentence he is to receive and then signs the document.
     There are several questions asked of the defendant as he stands before the bench during the plea and sentencing process.
     A defendant is asked if he understands that by accepting a plea arrangement, he is waiving the right to a jury trial as well as his right to appeal. He is also asked if he has made the decision to enter a guilty plea freely and voluntarily and that he has not been threatened or promised anything in return for his plea. The defendant is also asked if he is pleading guilty because he is, in fact, guilty.
     As Judge Gordon Webb was moving through the plea taking process on May 24th, he asked Roos directly, "did you engage in actions with a firearm causing the death of two people -- the Rices?" Roos admitted that he had.
     The Rules of Criminal Proceedure state that a "defendant may not withdraw his plea of guilty as a matter of right after it has been accepted by the court. However, before entry of judgement, the court may allow the defendant to withdraw his plea to correct what is termed a "manifest injustice".
     Examples of manifest injustice include denial of effective counsel, that it can be proven the plea was involuntary or was not ratified by the defendant or a person authorized to do so on his behalf.
     Petitions for post-conviction relief are fairly common. In fact, according to one published article, a large number of petitions seeking post-conviction relief are filed each year -- most coming from inmates in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
     They were described as "invariably handwritten and lengthy". A charge of inadequate representation is a common feature of the petitions. The article pointed out that most of the petitions were "without merit".
    Roos is being held in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Grayham and Mynk are currently inmates in the Baxter County jail awaiting trial.
ABC national news
iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The state of California declared a state of emergency Tuesday night, as firefighters feverishly tried to control a fast-moving wildfire that has scorched 37,473 acres near Los Angeles since Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department."Acting Governor Tom Torlakson today issued emergency proclamations for Los Angeles and Monterey counties due to the effects of the Sand and Soberanes fires, which have burned tens of thousands of acres of land, thre
Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As heat advisories popped up again across the Mid-Atlantic and a heat wave continued in the East, people were reminded again of the deadly dangers of kids and cars as two additional heat-related child deaths were reported.KidsAndCars said late Monday that it had learned of two additional children -- one in Florida and another in Missouri -- who had died after being found in hot cars this weekend.That raised the total number of children who have died of heatstrok
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a message to his workforce Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey further defended his decision not to press charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.“I hope you see clearly what I see, that this investigation was done honestly, independently, and competently,” Comey said in a video message to FBI personnel, according to one government employee who recounted the message to ABC
iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Firefighters are still working to control the fast-moving wildfire that has scorched 37,473 acres near Los Angeles since last Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.More than 3,000 firefighters have been deployed to halt the wildfire's path, according to the department. About 25 percent of the fire has been contained.Some evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes Monday night, fire officials announced, with the exception of t
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An odor comparable "to the stench of rotting flesh" will soon be released at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in New York City and the United States Botanical Garden (USBG) in Washington, D.C., sometime this week, when corpse flowers at both locations are expected to fully bloom.Despite the putrid stench, a huge crowd of people will likely flock to the gardens to witness the corpse flowers open.Part of the mystery that shrouds the giant plants, scientifica
Juneau Police Department(JUNEAU, Alaska) — A truck carrying a load of seafood overturned and spilled salmon across a busy highway in Juneau, Alaska, according to police."Egan Drive blocked by about 10,000 pounds of Chum Salmon," Juneau police said in a Facebook post Monday evening."The cleanup effort is still underway. The scene smells a bit fishy," the statement quipped.Police said the inbound traffic on the highway was completely blocked while outbound traffic was down to one lane.The sp
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Protests against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton continued for a second straight day Monday through scorching temperatures on the streets of Philadelphia, as an atmosphere of division cast a shadow over the Democratic National Convention's opening night.The protests stemmed from a number of different groups, including marijuana legalization activists, immigration rights activists, socialists, Green Party supporters, and Bl
iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Men who have dedicated their lives to fighting fires are among those who lost their homes in a massive Los Angeles-area wildfire that has burned more than 33,000 acres, according to authorities.Firefighters have been working to battle the Sand Fire near Santa Clarita for days. The blaze is at 10 percent containment, officials said Monday.Several thousand homes threatened by the Sand Fire were saved by firefighters, but the blaze has destroyed about 18 structures
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Dallas police applications have tripled after five local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by a gunman who said he was angry with police.The July 7 attack was the deadliest event for law enforcement since Sept. 11. But it doesn't seem to have deterred people from joining the force.From June 8 to June 20, the police department received 136 applications, averaging to 11.3 applications per day, the Dallas Police Department said in a Facebo
iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- Two teenagers were identified as the two victims killed in a shooting outside a Florida club early Monday morning.The teens were 14-year-old Sean Archilles and 18-year-old Ste’fan Strawder, the Fort Myers Police said.The shooting was reported in the parking lot at Club Blu in Fort Myers, Florida, at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, the Fort Myers Police said, after an event at the club geared toward teenagers.At least 14 to 16 others were hurt, police said. I
iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- Multiple shots were fired at a Florida nightclub overnight, according to ABC Fort Myers affiliate, WZVN-TV.Two people have been confirmed dead and as many as 16 injured after a person opened fire during an event geared toward teenagers at Club Blu in Fort Myers, Florida on Sunday night. At least one person has been detained in the incident.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) -- A Los Angeles County Wildfire has scorched more than 33,000 acres and set off a new wave of mass evacuations in the area, according to fire officials.The blaze has so far destroyed 18 homes in Southern California and has threaten 2,000 more structures as unpredictable winds pushed the Sand Fire out of forest land and closer to homes.Only 10 percent of the fire has been contained.A man was reported dead Saturday in Santa Clarita, after being found in a