An Ashley County jury convicted a Crossett man of aggravated robbery and theft of property for an incident in which he robbed a woman, threw her from a moving car, shot her and left her for dead.
After approximately an hour-and of deliberation, the jury returned the verdict against Christopher Washington. The jury sentenced Washington to 40 years in prison for the aggravated robbery charge and 10 years for theft of property with sentences to run concurrently.
The case began Oct. 28, 2018. Reports from the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office said that Elizabeth Hill, 28, of Crossett, was found injured on Ashley 20 and appeared to have road rash, bruises, and a bullet wound.
The report said that Hill told the investigators that she had given a man named Christopher Washington, Seth — later identified as Wyatt Seth Collins — and a girl she didn’t know, later identified as Justine Rollow, a ride from one store in North Crossett to another
Hill reported that they traveled along Arkansas 133 in her 2015 Nissan Altima and turned onto Brookings Road, then to Ashley 19, with turns onto Ashley 20 and Ashley 16 following. At some point during the drive, Washington asked Hill to stop the car.
Hill told investivators that when she stopped the car Washington began beating and choking her. Hill also reported that all three were armed and that Collins pulled her from the car and Rollow held her down while they beat her.
Hill was shoved back in the car and held at gunpoint while the three discussed “what they were going to do with her,” the report said.
“The victim stated that Seth said she didn’t deserve a bullet and that he would let them know when he hit 60 (miles per hour) so they could throw her out,” Officer Phillip Roberts wrote in his report.
The report said that Collins was driving the vehicle when the suspects allegedly threw Elizabeth from the vehicle when it was going that speed.
Hill reported they shot at her while she was rolling behind the vehicle.
The Ashley County Sheriff’s Office was notified that there was a woman screaming for help on Ashley 20 at approximately 6:30 a.m. When officers responded, they reported that they found Hill badly beaten and bruised and notified the Crossett Fire Department.
Officials from the CFD identified a bullet wound on Hill’s right forearm.
Investigators were able to find where the suspects threw Hill’s cell phone and other belongings before they left town in her vehicle.
Washington, Rollow and Collins were all arrested and charged in the case. Washington was formally charged with aggravated robbery and theft of property valued between $5,000 and $25,000.
At trial Tuesday, the jury of seven women and five men was selected around 10:30 a.m.. Joe Mazzanti with the Public Defenders Office was present representing Washington and Frank Spain was prosecuting for state.
After the lunch recess, the jury heard from Rollow and the EMT who responded to the call.
Rollow confirmed the officer’s report and testified that she was misinformed about what was going to happen, telling the jury that she wasn’t aware of what was going on until it was too late.
The EMT testified that when he arrived on scene he and the paramedic on duty treated and transported the victim. The EMT identified the wound on the victim’s arm to be a gunshot owund, but the defense council objected based on an EMT’s ability or qualifications to identify or determine a gun-shot wound.
The objection was upheld, but the EMT was allowed to say that he treated the wound as if it were a gunshot wound when he arrived on scene with no further objections.
Followng the EMT’s testimony, at approximately 1:40 p.m., Judge Bynum Gibson instructed the jury before sending them to come up with a verdict, and after almost an hour and a half of deliberation the jury came back with a guilty verdict on both charges.
Rollow and Collins are scheduled for jury trials later this month.