- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Attorneys failed to mention during opening statements in a murder trial that a controversial herbicide allegedly sparked the fight in northeast Arkansas between the suspect and the victim.

Allan Curtis Jones is charged with first-degree murder in the October 2016 shooting death of Mike Wallace, a farmer in Leachville, Arkansas. Jones lives in nearby Arbyrd, Missouri.

Police said the two men began arguing because Wallace believed the dicamba drifting onto his fields was coming from Jones’ land along the Missouri-Arkansas border, the Jonesboro Sun reported. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney mentioned dicamba during opening statements Tuesday.

Instead, the attorneys referred to the incident as a problem between the two men.

Prosecutor Gina Knight said Jones shot Wallace seven times when he met him in Leachville after Wallace called him to talk about the problem. Knight said Jones brought his cousin to protect him because he was scared Wallace would act violently.

“The defendant didn’t have to go meet Mike Wallace that day,” she said. “If he didn’t want to get beat up, why? … You’re going to have to decide if a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would have killed Mike Wallace.”

Defense attorney Wendell Hoskins said Wallace threatened Jones and attacked him from the minute he arrived to the scene. Hoskins said Jones shot Wallace to protect himself.

“This was a matter of Curtis Jones doing what he felt he needed to do,” Hoskins told jurors on Tuesday. “What did Curtis Jones reasonably believe? Was his life in danger? Did he take justifiable action to protect himself?”

The trial is being held at the Mississippi County Courthouse in Blytheville, Arkansas.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com


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