JONESBORO, Ark. – A police report confirms a terrible incident that took place early Sunday morning in Jonesboro but the report seems to indicate some disagreement about what happened.
The reason for the confusion, according to witnesses speaking to NEA Report is a cover-up they say downtown bar staff and their friends coordinated in. They’re speaking out after a man was left for dead in a pool of blood in the middle of Main Street, Jonesboro.
JPD Responds and Makes Arrest
At 1:09 AM, Sunday morning, August 4, JPD Officer Tanner Huff was dispatched to 218 South Main Street – the address for The Brickhouse. The victim was in front of that business but the fight began in Cregeen’s, nearby, witnesses say. Huff saw EMS already on scene rendering aid to a man with several lacerations to his face and a pool of blood around his head. That man is Joshua Anthony Bates, 29, of Mena. His injuries were significant enough that he had to be airlifted from the scene directly to Regional One Medical Center in Memphis. One witness told NEA Report later he had at least some of his teeth knocked out.
A large crowd was all around, Huff reported. He began to ask everyone what happened and the people he asked told him Bobby Joe Nutt was the one who beat the victim. Huff could not locate Nutt anywhere at the scene.
Huff did locate a video which showed another suspect initiating the fight by slamming the victim on the ground. That individual is a bartender/server at Cregeen’s, Brickhouse, and YesDog Grill: Andrew Logan Miller, 26, of Jonseboro. Miller was arrested for Felony Second Degree Battery and taken to Craighead County Detention Center. He was booked Sunday morning at 2:30 AM and remains there as of this article, awaiting his probable cause hearing. Although he was arrested on a felony charge, JPD updated NEA Report that the charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor due to the injuries not being as severe as earlier thought.
Later in the day on Sunday, a friend of the victim said to police he was recovering from his injuries. Monday morning, JPD Information Specialist Sally Smith said the victim received stitches and a broken tooth but was treated and released from the hospital.
Violence, Lies, and an Alleged Cover-Up
Several witnesses reached out to NEA Report with more details about what happened and it implicates more than just a few rogue individuals.
One witness, who was listed in the report as on-record with JPD, asked us not to identify her by name. She was seated on the balcony at Cregeen’s during the crazy events that unfolded and said she had to speak.
“I have not been okay since that,” She told NEA Report. “They straight up Edward Norton/American History X‘d that kid. That kid weighs about 150 pounds. Those other two dudes are like 250. They beat the sh*t out of him for no reason.”
The American History X reference is of a particularly violent scene from the 1998 movie where actor Edward Norton, playing a vicious white supremacist, stomps a man’s head into the pavement.
The witness said it began after a female bartender engaged in some type of argument with the victim. The victim apparently called her a derogatory name (beginning with “C”). According to the witness, this began the fight.
That bartender is Krystine E. Breyette Cooper, 29, of Jonesboro – the Cregeen’s bar manager who also works with the arrested suspect, Miller. She gave a statement to the Jonesboro Police Department about the incident and her name is listed in the incident report. NEA Report reached out to Cooper. She denied instigating a fight with the victim but she was less than forthcoming in her responses. She did not respond when we asked her if she spoke to the victim that night or if she was involved in some type of argument with him.
At this point early Sunday, the conflict was outside. Once tensions were at a fever-pitch, the incident became physical by Miller taking the victim down. JPD confirmed that from security footage. Miller apparently held the 150 pound Bates down until several bouncers showed up. The witness said Miller was only responsible for the initial physicality.
She said much more happened after a bouncer from the Brickhouse named “RC” arrived. Initially, she told us RC had hurt the victim but video proved he only helped stop the fight.
The incident report listed as a witness Rodney C. “RC” Cline, 45. He worked at Brickhouse as a bouncer that night, the bar confirmed. They stated that RC only rendered first aid to the victim and was not involved – a claim contradicted by several witnesses.
Nutt was the primary attacker involved in the beat-down.
According to our first witness, the two suspects were helped out by employees at both Brickhouse and Cregeen’s. Employees from both were said to be telling others what to and what not to say to police. Our first witness said she was told to keep quiet by the boyfriend of Cooper.
“All the Cregeen’s employees made everybody go inside and stay downstairs.”
Our witness also said someone changed shirts with RC. She said she found this so suspicious, she pulled out her phone and snapped a picture in the moment. The photo is difficult to see but appears to show two men nearby Brickhouse with one having a shirt half-pulled over his head.
Same photo with the witness’s notation. A coworker of Cline’s came forward and told us he swapped shirts with Nutt to help Nutt escape.
NEA Report specifically asked Brickhouse if either of the two men who were mentioned were working for them Saturday night/Sunday morning. Management said RC was working but no one named “Nutt” works for them. Miller’s employment status was confirmed but he was not working there at the time, they claim.
“The employment status of Andrew is pending the outcome/findings of JPD investigation. We do not employ a door person with the name of Nutt. RC assisted the police & EMS personal by administering cursory first aid to victim. There is no accusations or claims of inappropriate actions or pending investigation with regards to Brickhouse whatsoever by the JPD. Again, Brickhouse was not involved in the initiation, maintenance, or participation. This incident was entirely initiated @ Cregeen’s & subsequently spilled out into the street in front of Cregeen’s. Any attempt to link Brickhouse with the incident would be a completely false narrative.” – Brickhouse Grill Management
YesDog Grill also said Miller was not working for them during the incident, as did Cregeen’s.
“He wasn’t breathing”
A male witness who was also seated at the balcony over Cregeen’s spoke to NEA Report Monday afternoon. He said after what he saw after early Sunday, he would never again return to that business or several others downtown. Fearing for his safety, he spoke with us on condition of anonymity.
“When it originally started, we heard some commotion below us,” he said. “I saw a bigger gentleman and [Bates] getting into a fight. [Bates] fell. There was a gentleman kicking him. Someone broke it up down there and the two went on about their business.”
This first fight happened directly following the incident involving Cooper and Bates. The male witness said both he and his husband were at the bar for sometime and watched the female bar manager being overly flirtatious with bar patrons. Our witness said she specifically rubbed her breasts on his husband before the altercation downstairs took place, seeming greatly offended by the unwanted contact. According to the witness, Bates offended Cooper by either saying something or doing something which she took offense to. After that, he witnessed her boyfriend kicking Bates on the ground.
Not long after the fight, Bates left the bar. As he went to his vehicle, the witness said the confrontation began with Miller. Miller held him down as Nutt arrived, the witness said. Bates ended up blooded, battered and lifeless in Main Street.
Bates suffered horrible injuries but was lucky in one regard: the husband of our witness is a doctor. The couple ran toward the victim to try to render aid as no one was around him in the road.
As they were leaving Cregeen’s, the two noticed something suspicious.
“When he and I were running downstairs, as we were running out of Cregeen’s, there was a group of people and a big buff guy rushing into Cregeen’s,” Our witness said. “He had this look on his face like something serious just happened. I said to myself, ‘He did this.’ But we had to get to the boy in the street. We were afraid someone wouldn’t see him and run over him or something.”
The big buff guy was RC Cline. Three witnesses identified this photo as the man they saw rushed into Cregeen’s and changing shirts both in that establishment and later outside in a parking lot.
According to the male couple, Bates was not breathing when they reached him. The doctor positioned his airway open and only then Bates gasped several breaths. A huge gash was under his chin. A knot on his head and more damages to his face were evident.
“The amount of blood that was around his head…Stan. It looked like he had been hit by a car. They did a number on this guy.”
Two nurses came out of Brickhouse and assisted the doctor, the witness said. They stayed there the whole time until he got airlifted. The victim’s vital signs were not good at the scene and he kept coming in and out of consciousness.
“I don’t think that boy would have made it,” he said. “We were with him a good five minutes before anybody even got to him.”
After authorities were dispatched at 1:09 AM, they arrived and began investigating. What our witness said happened next is a verbatim quote.
“They asked me to hold his legs. While I was holding his legs, Krysti [Cooper] and the female officer were right next to me. The male officer approached the female officer and said the suspect is Bobby Nutt and he’s at Cregeen’s. Krysti was standing there when she heard the male officer tell the female officer that. I watched her. She took a few steps back and was texting someone. But then, [a Cregeen’s employee] was standing down the sidewalk and yelled her name. I watched her tell him something and all he did was shake his head and take off running down to Cregeen’s.”
Police were not able to locate Nutt at Cregeen’s when they searched.
Like others, the male witness also told a reporter people who worked downtown were coercing witnesses into silence or false testimony. This constitutes obstruction of justice if proven in court.
“There were people on the street telling others what they ‘saw,'” he said. “And telling them, ‘No you didn’t see that.’ It’s crazy the amount of people who were trying to hide these guys out. It blew my mind.”
It was a disappointing night for the couple. After the experience, both men said they would not be returning to Cregeen’s.
“No one deserves to be lifeless in the middle of the street, almost dead,” he said. “[He] and I have hung out at Cregeen’s many times but we will not go back after this. We don’t even want to be associated with people who think what they did to this boy is okay. There’s so many people who are covering up for these guys and it makes me nervous. That’s why I want to keep my name anonymous. These guys are dangerous. If they can do that much damage to someone and leave them in the middle of the street, they need to be locked away.”
A Third Witness Speaks Out
“All the people in the wrong all know me and I am scared they will come after me,” she said. “But I have a 21 year-old daughter and if something like this happened to her I would pray that someone would let the truth be known. My heart breaks for the victim and his family.”
A third witness to the incident also spoke to NEA Report, contradicting nothing while reiterating most of what we had been told by the first two interviews. The woman, 41, went on the record with the Jonesboro Police Department too, we verified. She witnessed more from one of the assailants, including him being covered for inside of Cregeen’s.
“I seen the guy being brought in Cregeen’s after the fact, shirtless, and then walking out with another shirt on,” she said. “Then watched him stand in front of Brick while they worked on the victim. He had put on a white hat also at this time. Then he walked over in the alley beside the Brick where the food trucks usually are. After this, I witnessed him and a tall skinny guy trade back into his grey t shirt and the other guy put on the shirt that the guy had on. We informed Officer Huff of this. Then later I seen the guy (not the fighter) walk out of Cregeen’s wearing another shirt and holding another shirt in his hands.”
She identified one man she witnessed being rushed into Cregeen’s as the man in the photo above: Cline.
Brickhouse management stated Cline only rendered aid to the man that was injured. Cline was also listed as a witness in the report, indicating he stayed at the scene and gave a statement to police.
After being told this, NEA Report checked again with all three witnesses we interviewed for the story. All three disputed that Cline rendered aid to the man.
The male witness and husband to the doctor that rendered aid to the victim was certain this was not true, he said. Two nurses, the doctor, the husband, and an EMT were the ones who tended to the victim – and no one else, the witness told us.
“RC was no where around when we were helping [the victim],” the male witness said. “He never gave aid to that boy. I would have noticed him. He never one time rendered aid to that boy. No. No he didn’t.”
We later learned this was because the Brickhouse was wrong. The only thing Cline did was help stop the fight. He left the unconscious man in the middle of the road after.
After our story was published, as is often the case, we received a reply to our request for comment from one of the individuals we reached out to.
Messaging us back, Cline claimed that he didn’t hurt the victim and didn’t actually render aid, but rather, he stopped the fight. Cline said he pulled Nutt off of him and “stopped the guy from getting murdered.”
Cline said the fight that started at Cregeen’s ended up in front of Brickhouse. He said after he pulled Nutt off of him, preventing a “murder,” he never saw where Nutt went or what he did afterward. We asked him if he was covering up for anyone and he said no.
Several other messages from Cline included profanity, including his eventual threat to sue us.
Around the same time as all of this, close to 12:50 AM Sunday, a motor vehicle accident was reported nearby at Johnson Avenue and Word Street. A vehicle was crashed into and flipped on its side while the suspect vehicle fled the scene. This incident is not known to be related to events that transpired downtown but due to the time and proximity, we are making note of it here.
If you have any information about either case which might assist police, contact the Jonesboro Police Department at 870-935-6710.
A new update on this story has been published since our initial report. View it by clicking here.