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Killer’s attempt was denied during background check
Gun was immediately purchased by friend then given to killer
GASSVILLE, Ark. – A Baxter County resident has been convicted of buying gun used in murder, a release from the sheriff’s department said.
Talmadge Beigh Pendergrass, 28, of Gassville, has been convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas for the federal felony offense of Making a False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm.
Pendergrass was indicted by a Grand Jury on January 11, 2017 charging him with that crime. The indictment came about following an investigation into Pendergrass having made a straw purchase of a handgun at the Harps grocery store in Mountain Home on or about November 6, 2015. The handgun he purchased was ultimately used by Nicholas Ian Roos in the murder of Donald Rice and Ladonna Rice the next day at their home at 477 CR 508 near Midway.
Evidence developed during the murder investigation found that Roos had gone to Harps accompanied by Pendergrass on November 6, 2015. Roos made application to purchase the handgun, but his application was denied by the background check, and he was not allowed to purchase the firearm. Video evidence from the store indicated that Roos then took cash out of a bag and handed it over to Pendergrass, who then made application to purchase the firearm. Pendergrass’ purchase was approved, and he took possession of the firearm. Pendergrass stated on the application form that he was the actual buyer of the firearm when in truth and fact he was acquiring the firearm on behalf of another person, which is a violation of the law. Pendergrass turned the firearm over to Roos.
While there is no evidence to suggest that Pendergrass had knowledge of Roos’ intent to use the firearm in the murders of Donald and Ladonna Rice, the indictment was still brought against him on the federal weapons charge, the release said. The judgment from the United States District Court indicates that Pendergrass plead guilty to the charge in May, 2017 and was sentenced on October 26, 2017 to sixteen (16) months imprisonment in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, after which he will be on supervised probation for a period of three (3) years.
Roos and co-defendants in the murder cases, Zach Tyler Grayham and Mikayla Jordan Mynk, remain incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Press release – John F. Montgomery, Baxter County Sheriff