Two others still face charges
JONESBORO, Ark. – One of the three men accused of being responsible for the 2016 robbery, kidnapping, and death of a Dollar Tree assistant manager entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday.
Dawaun Christopher Logan, 22, of Earle, plead guilty Monday to kidnapping, aggravated robbery and second degree murder, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington told NEA Report. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the September 25, 2016 robbery, kidnapping and murder of Dollar Tree Assistant Manager Loretta Ann (Laurie) Pixler.
Logan’s plea agreement reduced a first-degree murder charge down to second-degree murder, with him still admitting his guilt to the other two original charges.
Two other men, Byron Ford, 24, of Lepanto, and Rodney Watkins, 21, of West Memphis, still face charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and first degree murder. Trial could begin as soon as this week for Ford, said Ellington.
Just as Dollar Tree at Nettleton and Red Wolf was closing Sunday night, September 25, 2016, the trio is believed to have began their heist as employees exited the store to go home. Logan, armed with a gun, was designated as the robber. He ambushed Pixler outside of the closing store after 9:30 p.m. and demanded money.
But the robbery then turned into a kidnapping as Pixler was abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive away in her own vehicle, a black 4-door 2004 Hyundai Accent. Ford and Watkins followed Logan in a silver Kia Rio from behind.
Security footage provided to NEA Report shows the Rio driving through the parking lot during the incident.
Authorities believe Logan dropped Pixler off along I-555 before Marked Tree. He then drove away, stranding her in the middle of the night on a busy interstate. She was hit by a vehicle and tragically, she died.
A few miles down the road, Pixler’s car was found to have been abandoned in a ditch. Logan apparently drove the vehicle away from her to meet his accomplices so that the three could escape.
Jonesboro police used technology to track a cell phone number belonging to Watkins from the area where her car drove away to the area where she was found in Poinsett County.
In the days following the three suspects’ arrests, police interviewed Watkins, a probable cause affidavit said. During the recorded interview, Watkins said Ford drove the Rio, which Watkins rode in, while Logan drove Pixler’s car. The three remained on the phone the entire time, giving police a map of their path. Watkins also told police he instructed Logan on how to get out of Jonesboro and picked him up on Highway 14 after Logan drove the car into the ditch.
The three had hoped to steal the night-deposit money from the store. They were unsuccessful. They stole only the life in an innocent victim.
Pixler had a three-year-old daughter. She worked two jobs to help make ends meet, a GoFundMe page by her sister-in-law said. Her husband, disabled, was described as being focused at the time on explaining to the young child why, “her mommy won’t be coming home.”
Over $5,500 was raised toward the fund. Click here to see the fundraiser.