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
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That's Rodney-Jordan Fire Chief Mike Slice on the fire that destroyed a Jordan home this morning. ...Read More
The Baxter County Sheriffs 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.