In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, Fox 24’s Katelynn Zoellner went to find out what happened to the people responsible for murdering a Springdale man more than five years ago.
The Springdale Police Department said officers found Ed Abel not breathing inside his home in August 2013. Abel was taken to the Northwest Medical Center where he later died from his injuries, including a stab wound to the abdomen.
A week later, police said they arrested John Guerra and James Smith in Virginia for the murder. The two men were extradited back to Arkansas.
“Mr. Abel kept a substantial amount of gold coins and other valuable coins in safes in his home,” said Nathan Smith, Benton County Prosecuting Attorney. “That information got out. Mr. Guerra and Mr. Smith concocted a plan to rob him and so when they went that evening to rob him things escalated and they killed Mr. Abel in the course of committing that robbery. They were eventually apprehended in Norfolk, Virginia.”
Guerra and Smith are now serving in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
“There is a cast of characters involved in this,” said Smith. “The main two men responsible are John Guerra and James Smith. Mr. Guerra plead guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Smith plead guilty to murder in the first-degree and received a term of 30 years in prison. There are two to three other people who had more minor involvement. They were sent to prison or placed on probation.”
Smith said Abel and his family ultimately got the justice they deserve.
“This case to me is one case that’s particularly sad, because you have a man in Mr. Abel who simply thought he was befriending other people who eventually betrayed him to his death,” he said. “It’s sad, because you see what wickedness and evil people will do for a few coins. This can’t be something we as a society tolerate and so I think it was important in this case to give stiff prison sentences to the men involved.”
If there’s something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.