Prosecutors waive death penalty for suspect in Rhoads murder case

HARRISBURG, Ark. (KAIT) – Prosecutors have lifted the death penalty for a Poinsett County man accused of killing and robbing an elderly man in April 2020, court records show.

The waiver was filed with Poinsett County Circuit Court for Jordan Alexander Ratton, 19, of Marked Tree.

Ratton and Cameron Wray, also 19 from Marked Tree, were arrested in May 2020 on suspicion of capital murder and aggravated theft in the death of Mack Rhoads.

On May 12, the Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police and the Marked Tree Police Department arrested Jordan Ratton, 19, and Cameron Wray, 18, both of Marked Tree, on suspicion of capital murder and aggravated theft.(Poinsett Co. Sheriff’s Office)

During a May 2020 hearing in the case, authorities released details of the murder and an interview they had with Wray on May 12 at a house in Marked Tree.

Wray told authorities he and Ratton were driving in Ratton’s 2019 Dodge Ram and had been drinking whiskey that day.

Wray said he was driving Ratton’s vehicle when told to park at a nearby baseball park between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. that evening. They entered the park and Ratton picked up a tire tool from a truck, authorities said.

“Wray said Ratton told him he was going to rob Mack Rhoads inside Rhoads’ residence,” authorities said.

Ratton was wearing a black ski mask, gloves and a black sweatshirt when he carried the tire tool and black electrical tape into the house, Wray said at the time.

“Wray said when Ratton returned to the vehicle, Ratton was covered in blood,” police said. “Wray said Ratton was holding liquor bottles. Wray said Ratton also carried two guns and the tire tool.

Wray also said Ratton went to an area near the St. Francis River to burn the clothes. Wray then told authorities that he and Ratton both threw the pistols into the river. However, there was a question on the matter when a photograph emerged.

“After being questioned in the photo, Wray said he had lied before and took one of the pistols and Ratton the other. Wray said he tried to sell it, but was unsuccessful. , so he and Ratton returned to the river a few weeks later and threw the pistols into the river, ”authorities said.

According to a May 27 order filed in the case, Ratton’s defense attorneys have requested a series of motions in the case.

Some of these include a motion to allow the individual examination of jurors, a motion to prohibit the submission to the jury of aggravating circumstances for monetary gain during the sanctioning phase of the trial, and a motion to require a pre-trial judicial review. of all victim impact evidence that prosecutors intend to present at sentencing.

The victim impact proof motion has been granted, with the remaining motions due closer to trial.

A motion and advocacy day for Wray is set for July 7, with a trial scheduled for July 19-22.

Ratton is scheduled to be tried from September 20 to October 20. 1, with a refit scheduled for August 23.

Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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