Griffin enters “guilty” plea Wednesday morning.
Court is recessed until Thursday morning in the sentencing phase of John Chad Griffin, who in 2013 shot and killed 36-year-old David Stewart at an Arkadelphia residence.
Griffin, 43, waived a jury trial late Wednesday morning as he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
After prospective jurors were excused, court resumed after a lunch recess.
About a dozen of Stewart's family members filled two rows of seats in an otherwise empty gallery.
During the nearly two hours of court following the recess, eight law enforcement officers and the dispatcher who answered the homeowner's 911 call testified.
Police who responded testified they arrived to find a "shocked" juvenile boy in the street, wearing pajamas and saying the victim had been shot. One officer escorted him to a neighbor's home across the street, where a family friend took him in as the crime scene was investigated.
Officers also testified they entered the home to find a blood-covered Melissa French, the homeowner, attempting to resuscitate Stewart on the living room floor. French told the officers that Griffin had shot Stewart, and that Griffin was still inside the residence with a gun.
Griffin was located in his bedroom and taken into custody without incident. Two of the officers who testified recalled that a smiling Griffin surrendered with his hands up and a cigarette hanging from his lips.
The 20-gauge shotgun he used to shoot Stewart was seized in his bedroom, along with a box of shells.
The officer who transported Griffin to the Clark County Detention Center testified that Griffin laughingly and repeatedly admitted to shooting Stewart on the way to the jail.
In a five-minute video clip of the booking process shown to the court, Griffin was heard offering an expletive-filled admission; he could also be heard laughing at one point during the video.
Court will resume Thursday at 9 a.m., with two crime scene experts and several others expected to testify. Proceedings should wrap up sometime Thursday, with Circuit Judge Robert McCallum to hand down the sentence.
Griffin faces 10-40 years or life in prison, with additional time expected since the murder occurred in the presence of a child.
Prosecuting Attorney Blake Batson, along with Deputy Prosecutor Dan Turner, are representing the state in the trial.
Public defenders Timothy Beckham and Janice Williams are representing Griffin.