A three-day trial ended in Newport Thursday with a man being sentenced by Circuit Judge Harold S. Erwin to life in prison plus an additional term of 68 years.
The jury deliberated in the guilt phase of the trial for just 47 minutes.
Andwelle Sieed Ellis, 20, was found guilty of one count of first degree murder, 29 counts of committing a terroristic act, and firearm enhancements.
The charges stemmed from an incident on April 15, 2016, in the Hout Circle area of the Newport Housing Authority. A Cadillac, driven by Ruby Davis, entered the neighborhood. Davis was accompanied by her two daughters. One of the daughters, Vanessa Thomas was in the back seat. Ellis, armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, opened fire on the vehicle with a barrage of bullets. One of the bullets struck Thomas in the head. She was pronounced dead a short time later at a Newport hospital. Thomas was a single mother of four children.
“This verdict proves the community of Newport has gotten fed-up with senseless gun violence,” said prosecutor Henry Boyce, prosecuting attorney for the Third Judicial District. “Obviously, the jury was impressed by prosecution witnesses who I commend for their testimony that helped to take this dangerous man off the streets.”
The State of Arkansas was represented by Boyce, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rob Ratton, and Deputy Prosecutors John Pettie and Ryan Cooper.
Image of Andwelle Sieed Ellis via Newport Police Department
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