SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
Opinion Delivered June 14, 2007
APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY
HON. MARION ANDREW HUMPHREY,
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
JIM HANNAH, Chief Justice
Appellant Kelvin Beasley was convicted by a Pulaski County jury of capital murder in
the shooting death of Jermaine Jacko and sentenced to life in prison without parole. For
reversal, Beasley argues that the circuit court abused its discretion in allowing the State to
introduce into evidence an absent witness’s testimony from a bond-reduction hearing under the
hearsay exception stated in Rules 804(a)(5) and (b)(1) of the Arkansas Rules of Evidence. He
also argues that the circuit court abused its discretion in allowing a certified transcript of a
witness’s testimony to be read to the jury in place of playing the court reporter’s audio
recording of the witness’s statement. As this is a criminal appeal in which a sentence of life
imprisonment has been imposed, our jurisdiction is pursuant to Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 1-2(a)(2). We
reverse and remand to the circuit court.
On July 10, 2005, Jermaine Jacko was shot and killed while at the Woodbridge
Apartments on John Barrow Road in Little Rock. Lakisha Smith and Lashay Elmore were at
the apartment complex when the shooting occurred, and both gave statements to the police
shortly after the murder. Lakisha told police that she saw Beasley and two other individuals
with the victim immediately prior to the shooting. She also identified Beasley as the shooter
and stated that at the time of the shooting, Beasley was wearing a red t-shirt.
At the bond-reduction hearing, Beasley challenged the evidence arrayed against him.
While Lakisha affirmed, under oath at the hearing, Beasley’s presence at the scene and how
he was dressed, she said the statement she had previously made identifying him as the shooter
was “a lie” and that she had only repeated to police what her friend Lashay told her to