Capital murder charged in May 15 death

Searcy police prepare to take Hunter Dean Bishop back to the White County Detention Center on Thursday after he was served a warrant charging him with capital murder in the death of 23-year-old Maddison Clevenger at a residence on Horton Street on May 15. Bishop, 26, of Searcy had been arrested May 15 on preliminary charges of possession of a firearm by certain persons and theft by receiving. He was being held in the White County jail on a $40,000 bond, which has now been changed to no bond. In 2016, Bishop was sentenced to 41 months in prison for shooting a Plainville, Kan., convenience store clerk in the hip during an attempted robbery.

The 23-year-old who was killed in Searcy on May 15 reportedly was shot in the head with a handgun she had purchased four days earlier.

Hunter Dean Bishop, 26, of Searcy was charged Thursday with capital murder in the death of Maddison Clevenger. He already was being held at the White County Detention Center on a $40,000 bond for charges of possession of a firearm by certain persons and theft by receiving. Bishop is now being held without bond because of the class Y felony murder charge, according to 17th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca McCoy.

Clevenger’s body was found in a residence on Horton Street when Searcy police officers performed a welfare check because she did not show up for work and wasn’t answering phone calls.

Detective Andrew Ripka wrote in the affidavit that the residence was discovered to be secured, with the exterior doors locked, including the deadbolts, and the windows also locked. Ripka wrote officers entered the residence after Clevenger’s father moved an air-conditioning window unit on the south side. Clevenger was found inside the home, laying in her bed, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

“A projectile was discovered on the bed beneath Maddison Clevenger’s face and was retained as evidence,” Ripka wrote.

Through the investigation, it reportedly was discovered that Clevenger had bought a Glock 48, 9mm handgun May 11, but the gun was missing. It was also learned, Ripka wrote, that Clevenger was in a relationship with Bishop, who was present when the handgun was purchased.

Searcy police found Bishop, who was wanted for questioning in regards to the incident, driving a 2008 Chrysler 300. During the traffic stop, “an empty gun holster was located on Bishop,” Ripka wrote, but Bishop said he didn’t have a firearm. The Glock was found during a search of the vehicle.

“The handgun was loaded with 9mm rounds that resembled the projectile located at Clevenger’s residence,” Ripka wrote.

The handgun and the projectile were sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for a “comparison analysis.” The results showed the projectile removed from the crime scene was fired from the handgun recovered from Bishop’s vehicle.

Bishop, who was convicted in March 2016 of shooting a Plainville, Kan., convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery, was then arrested on the possession and theft charges. He was brought to the Searcy Police Department on Thursday and the capital murder charge was added.

The same day Bishop was charged with murder, another capital murder charge in the county also was preliminarily filed against Christopher Brown, 23, of Romance for the March 28 death of Charles Hogue, 73, in Romance.

That followed two capital murder arrests last week.

Robert Hurd, 18, of Searcy was arrested in West Memphis on May 14 and transported back to Searcy, where he is facing a murder charge in the April 29 shooting death of Eric Kalas, 38, of Searcy on Randall Drive.

Also on May 14, Julius Williams, 77, was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound in his Kensett residence and Jason Levi Baxter, 24, of Alton, Ill., was arrested and preliminary charged with capital murder. Baxter reportedly was living in Kensett.

Clevenger was found the next day.

McCoy said the county has had three homicides in 30 days and all of the ones who have been charged are in the White County Detention Center without bond. Brown also is being held without bond. She said she expects they will all go in front of White County Circuit Judge Mark Pate on June 1 to determine if they are indigent and need to get a public defender appointed to represent them. Plea and arraignment may be set “30 to 60 days” out, McCoy said.

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