WILLIAM IKE SEATON, JR.
STATE OF ARKANSAS
JANUARY 30, 2008
APPEAL FROM THE
CIRCUIT COURT, [NO. CR0522]
HONORABLE JERRY WAYNE
REVERSED AND REMANDED
JOHN B. ROBBINS, Judge
Appellant William Ike Seaton, Jr., appeals his conviction for the seconddegree
murder of Gene Woodall, who was shot to death on April 11, 2005, at his rural residence in
Story, Arkansas. Appellant was tried before a jury in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Appellant undeniably shot Woodall, but appellant claimed it was in selfdefense. Thus, the
trial centered around appellant’s intent on the night of the shooting. Appellant argues that
the trial court abused its discretion in admitting into evidence two written statements, one
from his sister and one given by himself. Appellant contends that these two evidentiary
rulings were in error and warrant the reversal of his conviction and remand for retrial. We
reverse the trial court’s ruling on the admission of his sister’s written statement, but we
affirm the admission of appellant’s statement.
To give context to this discussion, we set out the undisputed evidence presented to the
jury. On the night in question, appellant drove to his sister’s house and had an unpleasant
encounter with his sister, Debbie Pope, and his girlfriend, Carolyn Dunn. Then, appellant
drove away in his truck along the dirt road. Appellant said he was flagged down by his
sister’s neighbor, Woodall, as he drove by Woodall’s trailer. The two men engaged in a
verbal confrontation, both men had shotguns, and at least one shot was fired. Woodall died
from a spray of shot, which struck Woodall in the back and shoulder. Woodall succumbed
on his front porch. Woodall’s twelveyearold son was inside the trailer and heard the
commotion, but he did not witness the shooting. Woodall’s son told police he observed what
appeared to be a red truck driving away.
The next day, appellant was arreste