Day four of the Hot Springs trial of Kayvon Ward, who faces murder charges, is underway.
Ward is charged in the shooting death of officer Brent Scrimshire in a March 2020 incident. Day four began with the defense calling its final witness and ending its case. Prosecution rebuttal to the defense witnesses is underway.
In March 2020, Officer First Class Officer 1st Class Brent Scrimshire of Hot Springs Police was shot and killed following a traffic stop.
Kayvon Ward, 22, of Hot Springs, is on trial, charged in connection with capital murder, aggravated assault, possession of a defaced firearm and resisting arrest. He was driving the SUV Scrimshire stopped that night for running a stop sign.
Defense’s witness for day four was Ayanna Willams, who grew up with Ward.
“I tried to get in contact with him but I couldn’t. I just assumed he was doing his own thing,” she told the jury.
Defense has presented several witnesses who spoke about Ward’s being withdrawn, arguing that Ward was incapable of a premeditated act due to having schizophrenia.
Williams said Ward’s mother had reach out to her in 2019 with concern about her son’s behavior. She went to Ward’s mother’s house, Williams said.
“It took him [Ward] 45 minutes to open his [bedroom] door,” she told the jury.
After seeing Ward she went out to lunch with him, telling the jury: “I asked him ‘What’s going on?’” to which Ward replied “‘Everything’s fine,’” she said. “We still joked around and laughed, but there were times when his face was kind of blank,” Williams said.
The defense then rested its case.
The state called Lacey Willett, a psychologist with Arkansas State Hospital, having asked her to evaluate Ward in February 2021. Willett said she did not diagnose Ward with any kind of mental disability including schizophrenia.
“Honestly, it [a schizophrenia diagnosis] was not even on my radar,” Willett told the jury.
This was counter to a psychologist who testified for the defense earlier, who diagnosed Ward as schizophrenic.
Willett told the jury Ward admitted he had begun smoking marijuana at 10 to 12 years old and smoked it on and off until the March 2020 shooting.
In evaluating Ward she did not conduct any further tests for schizophrenia because of anything Ward said, she told the jury.
This story will be updated throughout the day.