Defendant leaves with juror before verdict

MARION – A West Memphis man convicted of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, caught a ride home with a juror during a court recess and then fled before he was sentenced, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said.

Madriekus Blakes, 32, was also convicted of four counts of committing a terroristic act for a Sept. 27, 2018, shooting incident at a West Memphis convenience store. Blakes was accused of firing four shots at a man and his father while they were sitting in a parked truck at a South Avalon Flash Market. Police said the two had been arguing over money Blakes claimed the man owed him.

Circuit Judge John Fogleman recessed Crittenden County Circuit Court jurors for the evening Tuesday and said deliberations would begin Wednesday. Blakes was seen leaving the courthouse parking lot in an orange Camaro. Bailiffs saw the Camaro return Wednesday morning and noticed a juror getting out of the vehicle.

Fogleman questioned the juror who admitted to driving Blakes home. The juror said he and Blakes “did not talk about the case,” during the trip, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Vandell Bland, who tried the case. Fogleman excused the juror and named an alternate juror to fill the position.

While jurors deliberated Wednesday, Blakes fled the courthouse and was last seen walking along East Military Road.

Jurors took about 40 minutes to reach the verdicts and recommended 20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder counts and a $5,000 fine on the remaining counts, Ellington said.

Judge John Fogleman will sentence Blakes once he is captured, Ellington said.

“I appreciate the jury’s attention and Vandell Bland’s hard work on prosecuting this case,” Ellington said.


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