Affidavit: Suspect took meth before shooting

A Pocahontas Police Department patrol car. Photo by Stan Morris.

POCAHONTAS, Ark. – The probable cause affidavit in the Saturday morning shooting death of a Pocahontas man suggests methamphetamine was involved.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Randolph County court, James “Dexter” Yancy shot and killed Nicholas Wayne Dawson at the 1400-block of Broadway Street in Pocahontas while under the influence of meth.

Yancy is the son of a Pocahontas Police Department criminal investigator.

A post-incident investigation by Arkansas State Police

Yancy. Source: Facebook

revealed both Yancy and Dawson were residing in the premises, the document states. Witnesses told investigators that Yancy and Dawson got into a physical fight before Dawson was shot to death.

Investigators said they advised Yancy of his right to remain silent and have an attorney but he waived those both to tell officers what happened.

“Yancy, by his own admission, indicated that he had ingested methamphetamine prior to shooting Dawson,” ASP Special Agent Wendall Jines wrote. “Yancy also admitted to having a handgun in his waistband at the time of the altercation. Yancy further stated that he, himself, instigated what led up to the physical altercation.”

However, Yancy also told the investigators he “feared for his life,” and shot Dawson in self-defense. Investigators noted witness accounts corroborated Yancy’s version of the story, although it was not clear if this included the self-defense reasoning.

Arkansas State Police Special Agents processed the crime scene and conducted the interviews with witnesses and the suspect, the report said.

Investigators believe Yancy committed manslaughter, a class C felony, and he faces this charge in Randolph County Circuit Court.

“According to 5-10-104 Manslaughter: a person commits manslaughter if he causes the death of another person that would be murder, except that he causes the death under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable excuse,” Arkansas code said, according to the affidavit. “The reasonableness of the excuse shall be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendants’ situation under the circumstances as he believes them to be.”

The investigator concluded charge was being filed because of Yancy taking meth, starting the fight and having “no physical signs of having been in a life or death struggle.” Police said the two were friends and Yancy acted “reckless,” ultimately causing Dawson’s death.

Yancy appeared before Circuit Judge Kevin King on Monday for his first appearance. King set his bond at $10,000.00.

Because Yancy is the son of a police officer in Pocahontas, Third Judicial District Prosecutor Henry Boyce is petitioning the court to appoint a Special Prosecuting Attorney to review the matter and to decide on charging Yancy.

Read the probable cause affidavit here:


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