Fort Smith man charged with manslaughter after 18-year-old killed in August 2020

River Valley News

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith man arrested on April 1 for the death of 18-year-old Averill James has been charged with manslaughter.

Lionel Larrinaga, 35, has been charged in Sebastian County Circuit Court with felony manslaughter and felony with a firearm.

According to an affidavit for a warrant, police learned from a witness that a black male with a white shirt, identified as “Six,” aka Lionel Larrinaga, was running away from Allied Gardens immediately after the gunshots were heard.

A second witness stated that James and Larrinaga were observed arguing. When the witness approached the two, Larrinaga made a threatening move to hit him and James told Larrinaga to leave the witness alone. The witness then observed the two fist-fighting each other with no one in the vicinity.

The witness arrived at a friend’s apartment and heard a gunshot. James was observed running from the location of the fight before collapsing on the ground.

Several other witnesses came forward and stated they heard from Larrinaga’s relatives that he had been involved in the altercation that resulted in James’ death.

Officers searched the area of the homicide but could not find any shell casings or firearms.

On September 23, 2020, Larrinaga was arrested for an unrelated offense and was in possession of a .38 revolver. According to police, a revolver does not eject the shell casing after being fired, which would provide an explanation as to why officers did not find any shell casings in the vicinity of the shooting at Allied Gardens.

An autopsy revealed that James was killed by a gunshot that was fired close to the body.

Larrinaga is being held in the Sebastian County Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond. Larrinaga will be arraigned on the charges on April 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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