PEA RIDGE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The death penalty is being considered for Shawna Cash, 22, from Pine Bluff, who is accused of killing Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple.
According to court documents, prosecutors outlined aggravated circumstances citing A.C.A. § 5-4-604(3), saying “the state will offer evidence that the capital murder was committed in an especially cruel and depraved manner.” Aggravated circumstances are needed in order to seek the death penalty for Cash.
Cash is charged with 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.
On June 26, two officers tried to stop a car involved in a pursuit by Rogers police. The incident came to a halt at a gas station on the corner of Slack Street and S. Curtis Avenue in Pea Ridge — but only for a short time.
In a probable cause affidavit bond document, Cash was identified as the driver and passenger Elija Andazola Sr. 18, of Bella Vista.
Camera footage obtained from White Oak gas station shows the suspect vehicle parked at the gas pumps when Officer Apple’s car pulled in front and another officer pulled in behind the vehicle.
Surveillance footage shows Officer Apple exiting his vehicle and standing by the driver’s side tire attempting to verbally engage Cash and Andazola. 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 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.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team later determined Officer Apple was dragged approximately 149 feet through the gas station parking lot, over a curb, almost to the intersection of Townsend Way and Slack Street where his body came to rest.
Andazola, who was the passenger in the car, pleaded not guilty to accomplice to capital murder and escape.
Cash’s arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. September 15 in Benton County Circuit Court. Andazola’s next court hearing is set for October 4.
Officer Kevin Apple was laid to rest on Friday, July 2.