Derrick Heard, age 19 of Newport, AR pleaded guilty today in Jackson County Circuit Court to multiple charges stemming from an incident involving the homicide of Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department on June 12, 2017. The Honorable Harold S. Erwin accepted Heardâ€™s guilty plea and sentenced him to the following charges:
The First Degree Murder and Attempted Capital Murder charges were ordered to run concurrently by Judge Erwin. The breaking and entering, theft of property, possession of a handgun charges were ordered to run consecutively to each other and to the murder and attempted capital murder charges for a total sentence in Department of Corrections for 42 years. Heard was placed in custody by Sheriff David Lucas for immediate transport to the Arkansas Department of Correction to begin serving his sentence.
Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce said â€œ This case has been without question one of great impact to the citizens of this community as well as to the law enforcement community in general. At the time Heard decided to admit his guilt multiple evidentiary motions were pending before the court. Heard was a juvenile at the time of his offenses but was charged as an adult. Despite the charging decision the â€œ Arkansas Fair Sentencing of Minors Actâ€ implemented in 2017 imposed mandatory parole eligibility in murder cases involving juvenile offenders at 30 yearsâ€