LITTLE ROCK — A 23-year-old Little Rock man accused of participating in a downtown shootout that killed a bystander made his first appearance Thursday in Pulaski County Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, committing a terroristic act and aggravated assault.
Defense attorney Omar Greene entered the plea to Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on behalf of Antwone Kesean Alford, with the judge scheduling a two-day trial for April.
Randel Corum, 72, was killed in the May shooting at the Shell Road Runner convenience store, 820 Broadway. Bearded and bald, Corum, formerly of Delaware, had schizophrenia and was a familiar presence in the area after living mostly on the streets for at least 25 years, court records show.
According to an arrest affidavit by Detective Marcus Custer, police found spent shell casings in two areas outside the store, one group at the gas pumps with the second at the Broadway driveway.
Security video showed several men and women, from three cars, engaged in a water-gun fight at the pumps. Alford’s car, a white Chevrolet Impala, can be seen circling the parking lot before parking at the pump. Alford walked into the store as the water-gun group started to get into in their cars.
Someone in the back seat of Alford’s car can be seen getting out of the Impala and shooting at the departing cars, apparently focusing on a silver Lexus, according to the affidavit.
The rear driver’s-side passenger of the Lexus returns gunfire as Alford walks out of the store and joins in the shooting, firing at the Lexus as well, the affidavit states. The direction Alford and his unidentified passenger can be seen firing is where Corum was standing. One bullet hit the gas pump where Alford had parked.
After striking a blue Ford sedan that was part of the water-gun group, the Lexus left south on Broadway followed by Alford’s car, a white 2012 Chevrolet Impala with paper tags.
Police found Alford and the Impala at the home of his cousin, 24-year-old Abd-Rahman Haidara, at the South Oaks Apartments, 3401 Fair Park Blvd., and took him into custody.
Alford told investigators he had been at the store to get gas. He said his friend, whom he knew only as “CJ,” was his only passenger, the affidavit states.
Alford said he’d gone into the store to pay for his gas then walked out to see two people in another car start shooting at CJ, describing how he pulled out his own pistol and fired at the vehicle. Alford told detectives CJ ran off and left, the affidavit states.
That same day, 43-year-old Dana Smith called police to report that her sons had been fired on at the Road Runner, and she brought them to meet with detectives.
Robert Boykin Jr., 23, said he was at the convenience store in the Lexus with his brother, 20-year-old Cortez Duncan, describing how they had been playing with water guns with their sisters in another car.
Boykin denied firing a gun and said he didn’t see anyone in the Lexus shooting, the affidavit states.
Duncan told police he’d been driving Boykin and another brother, 21-year-old Nelson Mann, telling police they had stopped to get gas at the store. He said his car was hit once on the driver’s side near the wheel.
Mann initially denied firing a gun, telling detectives he ducked down to the floorboard when the shooting started but then said he had fired his gun after the Lexus was struck by a bullet, the affidavit states.
With his bail set at $500,000, Alford spent almost three weeks in jail before posting bond. However, on July 6, Little Rock police stopped him in the 6200 block of Colonel Glenn Road for driving his Impala with an expired paper tag.
Officers saw an AR-15 rifle on the front seat and arrested him on the traffic infraction. Prosecutors complained that possessing the weapon violated Alford’s bond conditions, and Little Rock District Judge Melanie Martin ordered him jailed under $1 million bail. He’s been in custody ever since.
Alford was already in trouble with the law before the slaying. In February, he was a passenger in a car stopped by Little Rock police in the 2900 block of South Tyler Street for not having a license plate. According to an arrest report, police could smell marijuana in the vehicle, while Haidara, the driver, had a gun in his waistband. Haidara was released without charges.
Police also saw a “rifle-style” “Draco” gun next to Alford’s leg, and he directed officers to a pistol he had under his seat, the report states. The pistol was determined to have been stolen out of Bryant. Police also found ammunition for several different types of guns.
Investigators also discovered about 62 grams, almost 2¼ ounces, of marijuana on Alford, resulting in him being charged with theft by receiving and marijuana trafficking, the report states. He spent three days in jail before posting $50,000 bond.
In March 2015, when Alford was 15, he and his sister, Tamyha Hill, then 18, were arrested on second-degree battery charges over accusations that they fought with a police officer who was helping investigate the shooting of their mother.
Alford was initially charged as an adult, but authorities transferred the case to juvenile court because the law did not allow children that age to be prosecuted as adults on Class D felony counts. Hill pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and second-degree battery in January 2016 in exchange for five years on probation.
According to police reports, officers had been called to the family’s then-home on Republic Land because Hill and Alford’s mother, Seqoura Mitchell, 49, had been shot in the leg.
Mitchell told police that Hill and Hill’s ex-boyfriend had been feuding, resulting in a fight at the residence between Hill and some of her ex-boyfriend’s female cousins, police reports show.
A girl that had been in the fight fired a gun, and Mitchell told police she returned fire and was wounded. Mitchell said she dropped her gun and Alford picked it up to return fire, reports show.
Witnesses said two of the people involved were in a car at a neighboring house, with one of them seen carrying a gun.
Police found Alford and Hill in the car but they refused police orders to get out of the vehicle. They struck an officer in the head who tried to force them out. Alford and Hill were eventually removed from the vehicle and arrested, according to the reports.