BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Pine Bluff woman facing multiple charges including capital murder after the death of a Pea Ridge Police Officer has had her 2023 trial start date pushed back even later.
Shawna Cash, 23, faces charges of capital murder, escape, fleeing, two counts of aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, criminal mischief, obstructing governmental operations and reckless driving. In July, her trial date was scheduled for May 30, 2023.
But on September 5, her attorney, public defender Katherine Street, filed a motion for continuance in the Circuit Court of Benton County, requesting that the beginning of the trial be moved to June 19 “or as close thereto as possible.”
The court filing cites a “conflicting obligation” for one of the defendant’s attorneys as the need for the change. On September 15, the court issued a bench order delaying the trial start date until July 31, 2023.
Cash was identified as the alleged driver in the June 26, 2021 incident that killed Officer Kevin Apple. Two officers tried to stop a car involved in a Rogers police pursuit and the involved vehicles came to a halt at a gas station on the corner of Slack Street and S. Curtis Avenue in Pea Ridge.
Surveillance footage shows Officer Apple exiting his vehicle and attempting to verbally engage Cash and passenger Elija Andazola, 19. Seven seconds after Officer Apple exited his vehicle, the video shows Cash accelerating backward, slamming into the other officer’s vehicle.
In the video it appears Officer Apple draws his weapon and approaches the front of the suspect’s vehicle, standing directly in front of it. Approximately three seconds later, Cash accelerated forward, striking Officer Apple.
The officer was carried on the front of the suspect’s vehicle for several feet until Cash steered slightly to the right, striking the left front of Officer Apple’s patrol car, pinning him between two vehicles. As Cash continued to accelerate, Officer Apple was dragged underneath the suspect’s vehicle.
Andazola is being tried separately and pleaded not guilty to accomplice to capital murder and escape and his trial is set to begin on July 18, 2023. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cash.