HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A jury has sentenced Kayvon Ward to two life sentences for charges from the shooting death of police officer Brent Scrimshire in March 2020.
Life is the maximum sentence for murder in the first degree, and aggravated assault on a police officer.
On Thursday, the jury found Ward guilty on all six counts he was charged: first-degree murder, aggravated assault against an officer, possession of a defaced firearm, obstruction of government operations and fleeing.
In March 2020, Scrimshire had stopped Ward after Ward’s SUV was seen running a stop sign. A struggle ensued between Ward and Scrimshire and a third officer who arrived on scene. As Ward tried to flee Scrimshire was shot, the bullet entering his body above his body armor. He died shortly thereafter.
Ward, 22, admitted in testimony to having fired a gun, saying he just wanted the officer chasing him to get down as he fled.
Ward’s defense had maintained that he suffered from schizophrenia and was incapable of the premeditated act of murder. Ward’s mental health became a point of contention between defense and prosecution as testimony began Monday, July 25.
The jury heard testimony from three psychologists, two for the prosecution and one for the defense. The defense psychologist maintained that Ward suffered from schizophrenia, a view not shared by the two psychologists appearing on behalf of the prosecution. The diagnosis was made after the 2020 shooting.
A second person, Coraima Hernandez, 20, of Hot Springs, has been charged with murder in connection with the incident. She is in the Garland County Detention Center, charged with capital murder awaiting trial.