No formal charges filed against Newport suspect despite false reports

NEWPORT, Ark. – As of 4 p.m. Thursday, no charges have been filed against Tyler Calamese, 18, of Newport, in the suspected capital murder of Newport Police Department Lt. Patrick Weatherford, the prosecutor in the case confirmed to The Jonesboro Sun.

This is contradictory to a report by a local television station , who said in this story that, “According to District Court records released to Region 8 News, Tyler Jermale Calamese was officially charged on June 14 in a hearing before District Court Judge Barbara Griffin.”

This is wrong.

The erroneous report is derived from a record of first judicial appearance filed on Wednesday, June 14, in Jackson County District Court, which states Calamese was, “arrested by a law enforcement agency located in Jackson County, Arkansas with the following offense/offenses: capital murder.”

The mistake comes from the portion of the document which states the defendant was charged or arrested. 

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Full affidavit available at kait8.com

This means he was arrested in the investigation into the case because authorities have a reason to suspect his involvement, Third Judicial District Prosecutor Henry Boyce confirmed Wednesday afternoon to NEA Report. This does not mean he has been formally charged. Boyce, who is literally the person who will file formal charges, said this. Formal charges would also be filed in circuit court – not district court.

He also said it in a press release sent to outlets including NEA Report and Region 8 News. The TV station even posted a story with it.  

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Despite the report to the contrary, the station asserted Thursday afternoon charges had been officially filed and based the story on the document filed at 9:32 a.m. Wednesday. The press release to the contrary was later sent to outlets at 3:50 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The Jonesboro Sun confirmed as of 4 p.m. Thursday, June 15, formal charges were not filed, wrote editor Chris Wessel, in a text message to this reporter. This was for a story to be published in Friday’s edition of the newspaper.

Edit: At 7:19 p.m., Boyce confirmed in a text message, “K8 is incorrect. I told the station manager this afternoon. No formal charges have been filed yet.”

First appearance hearings in NEA generally take place in district court but most felonies are tried in circuit court. Arrests for misdemeanors are simultaneously charged during a first appearance hearing, since both are in district court, but for cases to be tried in circuit court, a seperate appearance to file formal charges is usually held. That seperate appearance is held in circuit court. This was confirmed by an area prosecutor not involved with this case or Boyce’s office.

Calamese is currently being held in Craighead County Detention Center pending filing of formal charges.

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Featured photo from CCDC. Story by Stan Morris

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5 Comments

  1. but what’s your point, he confessed, it’s not like there won’t be charges officially filed soon. This just makes it sound like he’s being illegally detained, and will only provoke more controversy and anger from both sides. And the “72 hour” max hold time, is not necessarily in play, in all arrest cases, the can vary depending on the severity of the crime

  2. I think your point of accurate journalism is fine, but the way this was written comes across as if there isn’t sufficient evidence to hold him, or that they have the wrong man-which is indeed a rumor trying to be spread by the *confessors* family and friends.

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