EARLE, Ark — Officials in Crittenden County, Arkansas, say they are back to square one in the case against a suspect accused of killing two adults and a child. Investigators say they do not have enough evidence, at this time, to take the man charged to trial.
Ezekiel Lindsey was arrested in June of 2019, on suspicion of three counts of capital murder in connection with an April 15, 2019, fire in Earle.
Family members of one of the victims, Kendrick Jones, say they heard that Lindsey would be released on Monday, and reached out to seek answers. They believe the case has been mishandled by investigators.
“It was talks that he could possibly get out due to lack of evidence,” said Tasha Jones, sister of Kendrick Jones. “Yes, we were very upset about it, you know, with any family we just demand justice.”
As the Jones family demands justice, Crittenden County officials say they are doing everything they can to give them that. Nevertheless, Vandell Bland, a deputy prosecutor in Crittenden County, says they had to release Lindsey under what’s called a nolle pros ruling. He said they wanted to try Lindsey, but they weighed the risk and decided not to.
“We do not have enough evidence that we feel comfortable that if we went to trial that we would get a conviction,” Bland said. “If we went to trial, and we did not have enough evidence, and he was found ‘not guilty,’ then jeopardy would attach. So then we would not get a chance to try him again. It would be double jeopardy.”
Bland did not discuss the investigation, and the family did not comment on why they believe procedures were not followed.
Court records show Lindsey has argued some evidence was suppressed. The Jones family says the only bright spot regarding this ordeal was a warrant was issued for Lindsey in Craighead County on burglary and stalking charges. Bland says he is optimistic they will eventually convict Lindsey.
“We just want to make sure that, since it’s our belief, we’re gonna convict him of murder,” Bland said. “We do not want him out here free with the public.”
The Jones family says they do not have closure yet, but they are hopeful that day will come. In the meantime, they say they are praying and trying to remain positive.
The Crittenden County Sheriff office sent the following message:
“The charges against Ezekiel Lindsey were nolle prosequi because a portion of evidence was suppressed due to technicalities and the state did not feel as if the remaining evidence was enough to convict. If the case had gone to court now and we lost because of the technicalities it would be over due to “double jeopardy”. By taking this action the investigator will have the opportunity to build a stronger case and re-introduce the evidence. We have up to a year to refile the charges against Ezekiel Lindsey.
Some of the technicalities were that of human error and paperwork was misfiled by the court clerk and not found until after the suppression hearing. Another issue was because the courts were temporarily shut down due to Covid-19 and the “speedy trial” law became an issue.”
This case is not over, we will refile.”
- President Trump talks Supreme Court nominee, election, coronavirus and football in NewsNation interview
- Bar owner excited to reopen after being shut down for six months
- Election commission votes against FedExForum as early voting site
- Pelosi announces bipartisan deal to avoid shutdown
- 3 people shot late Tuesday; Memphis Police say no suspect information is known at this time