Robert Hurd

Hurd

The 2020 murder case against a Searcy teenager was continued until December in White County Circuit Court earlier this month because of a pending mental health evaluation and “a pending quarantine.”

Circuit Judge Mark Pate granted the motion for continuance by Robert Unique Hurd’s attorney Sept. 8. The Act III evaluation is scheduled for Nov. 9. The purpose of the evaluation is to make sure the defendant understands the charges and is capable of aiding his attorney in his defense.

In his motion filed Sept. 1, attorney Bobby Digby II of Benton wrote that in addition to waiting on the evaluation, Hurd had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be quarantined “for at least 14 days.” He wrote that the defendant “would agree that speedy trial would be tolled for for the duration of this continuance.”

Hurd has been charged with class Y felony capital murder, along with class D felony theft of property, in the April 9 shooting death of Eric Kalas of Searcy. He has been held in the White County Detention Center on no bond since his arrest May 14, 2020, in West Memphis.

Kalas was found on the ground in front of the residence at 801 Randall Drive with multiple gunshot wounds after Searcy officers responded to a shots fired call at 2:19 p.m. April 29, according to the affidavit written by Detective Tim Smith of the Searcy Police Department.

“Officers kept pressure on the wounds until EMS personnel arrived and transported Mr. Kalas to Unity Health ER, where he later died of his wounds,” Smith wrote.

Officers reportedly obtained a search warrant for the residence and interviewed a witness who said he was at the residence at the time of the murder and saw Hurd shoot Kalas multiple times.

According to the affidavit, the witness said he and Hurd had been staying at the residence with the homeowner for a while and Kalas had come by to visit with the homeowner. The witness reportedly was told by Hurd, “I am about to crash out today.” He reportedly responded, “Bro no, quit with that [expletive].”

The next thing he looked over and saw, Smith wrote, is Hurd pointing a red Tec-9 at Kalas and Hurd saying, “Give me yo strap before I kill you.” The witness reportedly said that Hurd said it two times, and that is when he saw Hurd shoot Kalas. The witness reportedly explained that “crash out” is street term for shooting someone and “strap” was a handgun.

Smith wrote that the witness said Kalas previously had shown them a Springfield 9mm handgun and was known to carry it for self-defense.

“Witness 1 also demonstrated for detectives Hurd’s action and explained that Hurd was at the threshold of the open front door facing out and Kalas was facing Hurd either on the porch or just off it,” Smith wrote.

After the shots were fired by Hurd, he ran out the back door of the residence and “he was scared for his life,” the witness reportedly said. When officers arrived at the scene, “the handgun that Kalas was known to carry was missing,” Smith wrote.

Hurd, who had been living in Searcy, was retrieved after he fled the area by West Memphis police.

West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston told The Daily Citizen, “We got a call into our dispatch center just before 9 a.m. Thursday [May 14] that he [Hurd] was outside a residence at 509 Parkway and we actually sent our Violent Crimes Suppression Unit out to the scene and he was downside at the house ... they made contact at the house and they got consent to search the house from the homeowner. And as they searched the house, they found him in a closet in the back bedroom.”

According to Langston, officers didn’t have “any issues whatsoever” when taking Hurd into custody.

“I think our guys had been looking for him for a week or two,” Langston said. “We got a report on a Friday, I don’t know if it was last Friday or the Friday before, that he was in Marion, which is right on our city limits. Marion PD was over there looking for him at a hotel and they didn’t find him that night.

“There have been reported sightings and we had been looking for him for Searcy PD for at least a week. We had reports that he was over in Memphis for a little bit.”

Hurd had been out on bail at the time of the shooting for two counts of attempted murder in a separate case. A declaration of indigency in that case was appealed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals. It upheld the judgment May 24, and that case also was continued until December.

According to the affidavit by Detective Greg Mote of the Searcy Police Department, officers responded to shots being fired at the intersection of Woodlane Drive and Beebe-Capps Expressway on Oct. 3, 2019.

Officer Jason Denison reportedly observed a red Dodge truck in the area that match dispatch’s description and made contact with the driver. The alleged victim stated that “a black male wearing green shorts and a white shirt, who also had dreadlocks, had just shot at him several times before fleeing around the apartment building.”

Dennison reportedly spoke with the other alleged victim, who stated that the suspect was her son, Hurd, and he had reportedly shot at the two of them.

“She stated that they had dropped her son off at an apartment on Woodlane and he had come out and just started shooting at them,” Mote wrote.

Two employees from Westside Family Medical Clinic reportedly witnessed the shooting, and their descriptions of the suspect matched Hurd.

Hurd was later detained at the Skyline Square Apartments, according to the affidavit, and on the ground where he was located were two handguns, one of which matched the brass casings Mote had found on Woodlane.

Information for this article was contributed by staff writer Greg Geary and former staff writer Ally Ham.

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