HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man has been sentenced to two life terms in prison for fatally shooting a police officer during a traffic stop in 2020 and firing at another officer on the scene.
A jury on Thursday convicted Kayvon Ward, 24, of first-degree murder in the death of Hot Springs police Officer Brent Scrimshire and aggravated assault for shooting at the other officer, who wasn't struck. The same jury sentenced Ward on Friday.
Garland County Circuit Judge Marcia Hearnsberger ordered the sentences to be served consecutively.
“There is no excuse for your actions and the pain and suffering you caused for so many people,” Hearnsberger told Ward.
After Scrimshire stopped Ward for running a stop sign, Ward tried to flee. Ward testified that he fired a gun, but said he just wanted the officer chasing him to get down as he fled.
The jury had found Ward guilty on Thursday of first-degree murder rather than capital murder, as prosecutors had sought. A capital murder conviction would have carried a potential death penalty.
William James, Ward’s attorney, thanked the jury for choosing the lesser charge, The Sentinel-Record reported.
“There are no winners here, we’re all losers,” James said.
Scrimshire’s widow, Rachel Scrimshire, told the newspaper she was unhappy with the conviction, but satisfied with the sentence.
Ward was also convicted of possession of a defaced firearm, resisting arrest, obstructing government operations and fleeing.
At the time of the traffic stop, Ward had an outstanding warrant related to a shooting the year before in Hot Springs.