By Joe Phelps
Area agencies have opened their first homicide case in Arkadelphia for 2013, after a violent December still has residents looking for reasons behind the sudden surge in crime.
APD, the Clark County Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas State Police are conducting an ongoing investigation of an apparent shooting that left one man dead. His alleged killer is in custody.
The Arkadelphia Police Department on Wednesday at 8:43 p.m. responded to a report of a shooting at 232 N. 13th St. Within minutes, officers arrived at the residence to find that the victim, an adult male, lay dead inside the residence and swiftly had a suspect in police custody.
Little is being released about the incident.
What is known is that John Chad Griffin, 42, of Hot Springs, was taken into custody without incident at the scene, according to Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson. He was being held Thursday at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder. It was not known at press time when Griffin would make his first court appearance. Once he makes an initial appearance, the probable cause affidavit will be available to the public.
The victim was identified as 36-year-old David Stewart, of Little Rock. Watson said the men were at the home "visiting" at the time of the incident. Stewart was dead upon police arrival, Watson said. Clark County Coroner Tim Welch transported Stewart's body to the state Crime Laboratory.
The sheriff said there was no relation between Griffin and Stewart. Others were present inside the house at the time of the incident, but Watson was not saying who at press time Thursday.
A neighbor across the street who said she had not heard anything unusual in the neighborhood in the moments before police were called to the residence.
The sheriff refused to comment on what happened, a possible motive, what weapon was used in the slaying or any potential criminal history of the suspect.
The only Clark County case involving Griffin is a domestic abuse case opened in November 2011. Court documents indicate Griffin had been convicted of assault and battery; he was sentenced to two years but released after one, according to one document.