Three Little Rock teenagers arrested last week and charged as adults after allegedly stealing one woman's car at gunpoint and attempting to steal two others in Garland County are seeking to have their cases transferred to juvenile court.
Oscar Arroyo, 15, and Angel Martinez, 15, were both arrested the morning of June 16 at a Saline County truck stop and charged with three counts of aggravated robbery, punishable by up to life in prison, theft of property, punishable by up to 10 years, and theft by receiving and three counts of aggravated assault, each punishable by up to six years, in connection with the three incidents the night before.
A third accomplice, Juvelye Joshire Lopez, 15, was arrested June 17 at his Little Rock home on the same charges. Prosecutors had charged Arroyo and Martinez as adults and filed the cases June 16 in Garland County Circuit Court. On June 18, they also charged Lopez as an adult and filed his case in circuit court.
All three suspects remain in custody in the Garland County Juvenile Detention Center in lieu of $10,000 bond. The three have pleaded not guilty to the charges with Arroyo and Martinez set for a hearing on July 13 to determine the admissibility of statements they made after their arrest while Lopez's hearing is set for Aug. 31.
On Tuesday, Garland County Public Defender Tim Beckham filed motions on behalf of all three to transfer the cases to juvenile court, citing the Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
In support of his motion, he noted all three were 15 at the time of the alleged crimes and that the state has the option of charging juveniles in circuit court as adults or can "designate a juvenile for extended juvenile jurisdiction."
Beckham wrote they should be prosecuted as juveniles due to their "lack of maturity and sophistication," and noted, "The availability of facilities and programs" for the juveniles "which are likely to rehabilitate (them) prior to the expiration of the juvenile division's jurisdiction."
He also indicated his intent to present written reports or testimony "relating to the defendants' mental, physical, educational or social history."
According to earlier reports and the probable cause affidavits, on June 15, around 9:45 p.m., one woman and her passengers were forced off the road while driving on Park Avenue and accosted at gunpoint by three males in a red vehicle, who fled the scene after the woman struck a culvert.
About 25 minutes later, a second woman reported her 2016 Toyota Camry was stolen at gunpoint by three males in a red Chevrolet Aveo in the 3600 block of Park after she was forced off the road. The woman waited in the Aveo, which had been reported stolen from Pulaski County, until Garland County Sheriff's deputies arrived.
About 25 minutes later, a third woman reported an attempted carjacking, also in the 3600 block of Park. She said three males had accosted her at gunpoint, but she was able to maneuver her car around them and get away.
Shortly before 11 p.m. that night, a Saline County sheriff's deputy spotted the stolen Toyota Camry and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver accelerated and crashed at the intersection of Highway 70 east and Interstate 30. Upon impact, deputies saw three males exit the vehicle and flee into the nearby woods where they could not be located.
Shortly before 4 a.m. the next day, Saline County deputies saw two juvenile males, later identified as Arroyo and Martinez, at JJ's Truck Stop, located at 6106 Interstate 30. The two attempted to flee but were taken into custody.
When interviewed later by Garland County sheriff's investigators, Arroyo reportedly admitted they had stolen a gray car from a woman in the Hot Springs area and to being in the car when it wrecked on Highway 70. He denied there being a gun involved in the theft and declined to identify the third accomplice in the incident that was not found.
Martinez reportedly admitted to attempting to steal two cars at gunpoint, but they were unsuccessful. He also reportedly admitted to stealing the one woman's car at gunpoint and then attempting to steal another one at an unknown gas station.
Martinez told investigators Lopez was the third suspect and the driver of the vehicles they had stolen.
On June 17, Garland County sheriff's investigator asked Little Rock police detectives to go to Lopez's house in Little Rock where they spoke to Lopez's mother and sister. The two were shown a surveillance photo from the Big Red gas station on Highway 70 where the suspects had stopped for gas and they both identified Lopez in the photo.
Detectives got consent to search the residence and reportedly found a white hoodie and black shoes belonging to Lopez that matched ones worn by the suspect in the surveillance video.
Garland County sheriff's investigators later tried to question Lopez, but he declined to answer any questions without his attorney.