Two Batesville men plead guilty to murder

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BATESVILLE, Ark. — Two Batesville men, Alexander G. Broisus, 27, and Jesse R. Shoemaker, 35, have pled guilty to the 2018 murder of Michael Bryant who was shot to death at a home on Harrison Street Annex.

The murder occurred on the evening of June 13, 2018 at a home that Bryant shared with his companion. Store video shows Shoemaker stopping at Walmart just minutes before the shooting to buy ammunition for his rifle. Brosius drove Shoemaker’s truck to Bryant’s home, dropping Shoemaker, who was armed with the rifle, near the rear of Bryant’s house. Bryant exited through the back door, where he was met by Brosius. Shoemaker then fired three shots, one of the shots proved fatal to Bryant. At least one of the bullets entered the house where Bryant’s companion was located. Shoemaker and Brosius, fled the scene in Shoemaker’s truck. A short time later, Shoemaker reported his truck had been stolen, but later confessed that he and Brosius had ditched the truck and the firearms to cover up the crime. Shoemaker confessed to the murder.

The primary investigator in the case was Detective Sgt. Zach Rawlins with the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.

Shoemaker pled guilty to the following counts on Mar. 17: First degree murder; committing a terroristic act; illegal possession of body armor; filing a false report; and illegal use of a communication device. He received 35 year in the Arkansas Department of Corrections on the murder charge, 20 years on the terroristic act; and six years each on the possession of body armor, filing a false report and illegal use of a communication device charges for a total of 73 years. Shoemaker has been held in the Independence County Jail since the shooting and will be transported to the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Brosius previously pled guilty to three felony counts on Aug. 7, 2019: Conspiracy to commit first degree murder; illegal possession of body armor and possession of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections on the conspiracy to commit murder charge, 20 years on the drug charges and six years on the possession of body armor charge for a total of 56 years. He has been at ADC since August 2019. Court records indicate that neither defendant had prior felony convictions.

A jury trial for Shoemaker had been scheduled for two weeks in April.

“In the world of Covid19, we were all concerned about bringing in a large jury pool for this trial. The plea eliminates the need for trial,” Prosecuting Attorney Eric Hance stated. “I think it’s fair to say that crystal methamphetamine played a large role in these crimes. The connection between illegal drugs and violent crimes cannot be denied.”

The cases against the two co-defendants were presided over by Judge Tim Weaver in Independence County Circuit Court.

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