JONESBORO, Ark. – On January 23, 2020, a suspected murder plot was foiled at Westside schools before it ever could come to fruition. Two juveniles are now being charged as adults for their role in the alleged scheme.
Patrick Houston and Dakota Hays are both facing felony charges of criminal conspiracy to commit capital murder and possession of a firearm by a minor on school property. A judge found probable cause on Friday to charge both as adults. Each could be incarcerated for as much as 36 years on both of the charges.
The day before the incident, Jan. 22, Houston had asked for a gun, the probable cause affidavit states. Hays told investigators he decided to loan Houston a .22 pistol. The conversation progressed to Houston allegedly saying he was going to use the gun to kill a coworker – a 16-year-old boy – at work. Hays told investigators he gave the gun to Houston knowing he intended to use it for murder.
On Jan. 23, Houston and Hays met in a boy’s restroom at the school. It was to exchange the pistol. Fortunately, a brave student saw the gun and reported it to the school resource officer. The school went into lock-down immediately. The officer immediately went to the student’s classroom, secured the weapon, and took the students into custody.
Investigators interviewed both young suspects to find out more. Hays described how Houston planned to get rid of the body. Adding to the plan, Hays contributed what he thought was “a better idea” of how to get rid of the body.
Houston, interviewed with his father present, is said to have confirmed he asked for and was given the pistol by Hays. He said he told Hays he planned to kill a coworker at work. The two discussed disposing of the body afterwards.
Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington told NEA Report he requested the high bond amount because of not only the dangers and concerns posed out of this incident, but also because of the tragic history at Westside. (Read more)
Judge Cindy Thyer set each at a bond of $250,000.
In addition to the high bond amount, should either make bond, they’re to be on house arrest with an ankle monitor while reporting to the juvenile office weekly. Neither will be allowed to possess a firearm or consume alcohol or controlled substances. Both have been issued no contact orders with the juvenile named in the affidavit, each other, and Westside School.
Documents show that Houston worked at “Ron’s” earning $10 an hour. Hays worked at Popeye’s.
Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Capital Murder is a Class A felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Possession of a Firearm by a Minor on School Property is a Class D felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The two young suspects are next scheduled for court at 8:30 AM on February 28.