Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tragic End to Missing Teenager

Jones Arraigned, Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Van Buren Teen

Lloyd Collin Jones

Angela AllenBy Jeff Arnold

A Lavaca man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Sebastian County Circuit Court to first-degree murder in connection with the death of a Van Buren teen.

Lloyd Collin Jones, 36, is accused of killing 16-year-old Angela Allen of Van Buren, whose family reported her missing Feb. 11.

A first-degree murder warrant, which was served on Jones Tuesday at the Sebastian County Detention Center, set his bond at $1 million cash.

Circuit Court Judge Stephen Tabor continued Jones’ bond at $1 million cash when Jones appeared for arraignment via video from the detention center Wednesday morning.

Tabor also assigned the public defender’s office to represent Jones.

Jones was developed as a suspect after deputies from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office learned Jones and Allen were exchanging text messages and met on a social-networking website called, according an arrest warrant affidavit.

The investigation subsequently lead to property outside Lavaca owned by Jones’ brother, where Allen’s remains were discovered in a barrel buried near an old unused well house, according to the affidavit.

On Saturday, Jones’ father visited him at the detention center, where his father asked him what was going on.

“The defendant stated ‘Did they find her?’ and ‘I panicked — I did it,’” according to the affidavit.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue said the investigation into Allen’s death is ongoing.

Maj. Kevin Nickson, Sebastian Sheriff’s Office public information officer, said during a Tuesday news conference that investigators were still conducting interviews, re-interviewing some people and a forensic examination of Jones’ computer was still under way.

Jones is a level 3 sex offender who was convicted of rape in 2001 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released from custody in September 2008, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

The jury that convicted Jones of rape on April 27, 2001, asked the trial judge if it could sentence Jones to five years in prison because jurors thought a 10-year sentence was too long.

Rape is a Class Y felony punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

Then-Circuit Court Judge James Marschewski determined the jury recommendation was an illegal sentence and imposed the 10-year sentence.

Allen’s family reported the Butterfield Junior High student missing Feb. 11, after she said she was going to walk around the neighborhood at about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, and never returned home.

Jones admitted picking up Allen in Van Buren and “making out” with her near the Arkansas River before he violently pushed her in the water and left her there after learning she was 16 years old, according to the affidavit.

Van Buren Police Chief Kenneth Bell said during a Friday news conference that Jones “groomed” Allen as they conversed back and forth.

“They built a relationship, and he picked her up” Feb. 10, Bell said. Investigators believe it was a mutual arrangement at the time, but they could not confirm that fact.

Although Jones told investigators he pushed Allen in the river, on Tuesday a deputy medical examiner with the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory told Sgt. Anthony Sacco, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, there was no fluid in Allen’s lungs and she was immediately placed inside the barrel after she was killed, according to the affidavit.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate Allen was strangled.

First-degree murder is a Class Y felony.