Woman found guilty of attempted murder in 2019 Walmart parking lot incident

JONESBORO, Ark. – Melissa Rose Hatley, 37, was found guilty by a jury of Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder in the First Degree Friday afternoon in a Jonesboro court, according to Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington.

She was sentenced to 25 years, Ellington told NEA Report.

The seven-woman, five-man jury took an hour to convict.

“We are very grateful for the jury’s verdict,” Deputy Prosecutor Grant DeProw said. “The jury saw a case of a victim and her controlling domestic abuser who would rather kill her than let her leave the relationship.

“Twenty-five years sends a strong message to domestic abusers,” he said. “I want to thank the officers of the Jonesboro Police Department for their efforts on behalf of this victim.”

On May 22, 2019, video shows the driver of a vehicle appearing to deliberately run over a pedestrian at Walmart in Jonesboro. The shocking incident doesn’t stop there.

The video continues with the vehicle backing up and running over the person again. From there, it’s nearly impossible to visualize what is happening at the center of the strange incident. However, prosecutors have been trying to clear that up to jurors this week in court.

Hatley was charged with attempted capital murder. Her trial was on-going this week in Craighead County. As first reported by The Jonesboro Sun‘s Brittany Williams, Deputy Prosecutor Grant DeProw told the court that Hatley was in a relationship with the female victim, who is not being identified by name in this story.

As seen at the beginning of the above-video, in the top portion of the frame, the victim gets out of the car and starts to walk away. The prosecution said the victim expressed concern for her safety because Hatley had been drinking. The victim walks behind the Ford Escape and then away from the direction it faced. Instead of leaving, the video shows the vehicle back up, turn around, and begin approaching the walking victim. The vehicle slows down next to her and there appears to be an short conversation. The victim again walks away, this time with her back to the front of the vehicle. This is when the vehicle accelerates, running into the person. The vehicle backs up a full car length and then accelerates again, this time appearing to run over the area where the victim was last seen falling. The Ford runs up on a concrete curb and into the mulch, coming to a stop on top of the victim.

But the incident didn’t stop there. The prosecution said Hatley got out of the vehicle and tried to choke the victim with a black lanyard. Nearby onlookers attempted to intervene and pull Hatley away but she got away from them and went back at the victim, again.

Hatley allegedly asked, “Why won’t you die?” during the struggle to attack the victim. Both witnesses and the victim testified to that effect.



NEA Report will update this story with additional information if it becomes available. 

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