‘There should be grounds for him to step aside,” Protesters demand sheriff remove himself from murder case

Arkansas News

DREW COUNTY, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 6/4/21 — Action! That’s what family and friends of the man murdered last year in Wilmar are wanting. They took those demands to the Drew County Courthouse hoping something will be done soon.

From the corners of the street to the front of the courthouse, protesters gathered to let their voices be heard.

“We are here doing a protest for a number of reasons. Moreso to get Mark Gober to recuse himself from the case. We want the Arkansas State Police to take over and we want justice for Marquis,” Dena Ingram said.

The crowd rallied behind Martin’s mother, Lakisha Arrington to demand just that. Martin was found dead in a creek last March after being missing for nearly a month.

The Drew County Sheriff’s Office is the lead over the case but it happened in their jurisdiction and they haven’t turned the case over to other agencies. There still haven’t been any arrests made in the homicide.

“We want to see his killers behind bars,” Ingram said.

Over the last year, rumors and pictures have surfaced on social media alleging that the sheriff’s sons and his friends were involved in Martin’s murder.

We sat down with him last July and he said all rumors were completely false and even as more claims circulate with his family at the center, Sheriff Gober says it’s all made up.

However, some in the community aren’t so convinced that the information is false. Whether it’s true or not, they believe the sheriff should step down from the investigation.

“If you have any allegations against you, you shouldn’t be on the same case,” Josie Hunstman said.

Sheriff Gober declined an on-camera interview but stated one of his sons and the other men that people are claiming are involved have all been interviewed and cleared by Arkansas State Police. He also stated the agency has been involved in the case since the very beginning

NBC10/FOX14 reached out to ASP to verify the information and ask about the allegations. Bill Sadler, a spokesperson for the agency sent a statement:

“Primary investigative authority was originally taken by the Drew County Sheriff’s Department in 2019 when the initial disappearance was reported by the family to the sheriff’s department and in the days leading up to and continuing since the discovery of Marquis Martin’s body.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police were subsequently requested to provide minimal ancillary assistance and that work product was provided to the sheriff’s department.”

Sadler declined to comment about any further details citing that the sheriff’s department is the lead investigative law enforcement agency related to the case.

Now, the ultimate question on the public’s minds is will Sheriff Gober recuse himself from the case.

He told NBC10/FOX14 during a phone conversation that he has no plans to because there is no truth to the information that’s being put out on social media.

“That’s why I go back to public corruption. I’m talking about if there is a perception of wrongdoing between him and his family, there should be grounds for him to step to the side,” Jack Foster said. “I think it’s time to bring the Federal Government in.”

Martin’s family and friends say they aren’t going anywhere until they get the outcome they’ve been requesting since the very beginning of this case.

I also reached out to the Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen. He declined to comment about the allegations and says he’s also not at liberty to comment about pending investigations.

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