Court date changed for suspect in Pine Bluff officer’s death

Photo: Keshone Quantarious Smith
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas judge has rescheduled the court date of a man accused in the shooting death of a Pine Bluff detective last month.Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth ordered Keshone Quantarious Smith, 19, during a court appearance on Wednesday to return to court on Jan. 7 as the Arkansas State Police completes its investigative file in the case, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.Smith, who was wanted on a murder charge in Georgia, is being held in the Jefferson County jail on suspicion of capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Pine Bluff Detective Kevin Collins. The incident took place Oct. 5 at the Econo Lodge in Pine Buff, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock, and left another officer, Lt. Ralph Isaac, 42, wounded. A third officer, Kelsey Collins, 28, was also shot, but his department-issued protective vest stopped the bullet.

Smith on Wednesday asked Bridgforth for a public defender after initially telling her Oct. 7 at a probable cause hearing that he planned to hire an attorney. The judge told Smith that he must fill out an affidavit confirming his assets before she would consider granting his request.

Last month, Smith attempted to assert his innocence in court by alleging there were “three witnesses” at the scene after Bridgforth cautioned him about making any statements without attorney representation. But during the hearing held by teleconference, Arkansas State Police Special Agent Randy Rawls entered the brief affidavit that made no such mention of witnesses.

“On Oct. 5, 2020, officers of the Pine Bluff Police Department traveled to the Econo Lodge Motel in an attempt to locate and arrest Mr. KeShone Smith, on active warrants, active felony warrants,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jill Reed read from the affidavit. “During the course of the arrest, KeShone Smith fired his weapon at the officers. Officers then returned fire.”

Smith had been running from law enforcement for nearly three months after being named as a suspect in a homicide in Georgia along with two other men. Authorities in Arkansas have not said whether Pine Bluff police were seeking to arrest Smith specifically because of that shooting.

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