Not guilty plea entered for MH man charged with manslaughter in neighbor’s death

Photo: Johnathan Robert Mauldin

A not guilty plea was entered Thursday for a 26-year-old Mountain Home man accused of killing his neighbor.

Johnathan Robert Mauldin was first charged with third-degree domestic battering and terroristic threatening stemming from alleged crimes that took place after Mountain Home Police Department (MHPD) officers initially made contact with him in late May.

The more serious manslaughter charge was filed late last month.

The waiver of arraignment and not guilty plea were entered on Mauldin’s behalf by his attorney, Jordan Tinsley, of the Little Rock law firm of Tinsley and Youngdahl.

According to court records, two bonds have been posted in Mauldin’s cases. The first for $25,000 and was issued July 6. After Mauldin was arrested on the manslaughter charge, a second bond was issued for $50,000 late last month.

The same bail bond company holds both bonds now totaling $75,000.

Prosecutor David Ethredge said early on in the investigation the evidence gathered at the scene and information provided by the autopsy done on the victim clearly indicated the manslaughter charge was warranted.

According to the probable cause affidavit, MHPD officers were sent to the Quail Run Apartments on May 25 in response to a report of a possible shooting involving neighbors.

When officers arrived, they found Mauldin sprawled in the breezeway. He was reported to have abruptly gotten up and “staggered to his apartment.”

Mauldin, who was described as extremely intoxicated, disregarded commands to halt and went toward a back bedroom. His girlfriend was attempting to stop him. On bodycam footage, Mauldin was seen pushing the girlfriend into a door resulting in the domestic battering charge.

Mauldin then made an obscenity-laced threat to kill an MHPD officer for which he was charged with terroristic threatening.

The body of the victim — 67-year-old Jamie Sanders — was found in his apartment. He was reported to have died from two gunshot wounds. His body was sent to the State Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy.

Details of what happened between Mauldin and Sanders to bring on the fatal encounter are sketchy at this point.

Mauldin is alleged to have told investigators he remembered being at Sander’s apartment drinking but said he could recall nothing related to the shooting itself.

Both Mauldin and the victim were reported to have blood alcohol levels many times above the legal limit.

Two handguns were recovered from Sanders’ apartment — one belonged to Mauldin and one to the victim.

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