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Body found in vehicle leads to murder charge – Hot Springs

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Body found in vehicle leads to murder charge
Keith Edward Ashlock, 58, Pine Ridge – Montgomery County

A Montgomery County man arrested last month after allegedly fleeing from a Garland County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a body found in his vehicle.

Keith Edward Ashlock, 58, who lists a Pine Ridge address, was arrested April 30 on felony and misdemeanor charges of first-degree criminal mischief and misdemeanor charges of fleeing in a vehicle, fleeing on foot, and obstructing governmental operations all stemming from the pursuit and damages he allegedly caused before he was taken into custody.

After his arrest, a vehicle inventory was conducted and the body of a white male, later identified as Jimmy Fryar, 65, also of Montgomery County, was found. The exact location of the body in the vehicle has not been released.

On Wednesday, Ashlock was charged with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison, in Fryar’s death, the sheriff’s department said in a news release on Monday.

“The investigation is ongoing with the Arkansas State Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department,” the release said, noting anyone with information should contact sheriff’s investigators at 501-622-3660.

An April 30 post on the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook stated Sheriff David White was contacted by Garland County sheriff’s investigators about the body found and went to Ashlock’s residence where he found evidence of a crime scene. The post states foul play was suspected in the death of the victim and state police worked the crime scene.

Ashlock pleaded not guilty May 1 in Garland County District Court to the initial charges in the case and was set for a felony review hearing on June 17. He will also be arraigned on the murder charge at that time, according to court documents. He was initially being held on $100,000 bond, but is now being held on $200,000 bond.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on April 30, around 3:45 a.m., Deputy Aaron Bowerman got behind a Cadillac with an Oaklawn vanity plate in place of an authorized license plate and activated his lights to make a traffic stop.

The vehicle made a quick left turn into Hamilton Pointe Condos, 5000 Central Ave., “purposefully breaking the security gate.” Bowerman pursued the vehicle and located it near one of the condos with the engine still running, but the driver was gone.

A Hot Springs police K-9 unit tracked the driver, later identified as Ashlock, to the roof of an adjoining condo where he was hiding behind a chimney. A check of the vehicle identification number on the Cadillac returned to a 55-year-old local man.

Deputies attempted to get Ashlock to come down off the roof, but he initially refused. They called first responders to bring them a ladder and were finally able to get him off the roof after about two hours.

Damage to the security gate and a skylight on the roof of the condo were estimated at about $11,000.

Ashlock initially claimed to be the local man the vehicle was registered to, but he was eventually identified as Ashlock.

According to court records, Ashlock pleaded guilty May 12, 2014, in Pulaski County to felony charges of residential burglary and theft of property and was sentenced to five years in prison and was on parole. He had also pleaded guilty on July 6, 2010, in Garland County to a felony charge of first-degree criminal mischief and was sentenced to three years in prison.

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