Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims set a December trial date Thursday for the 17-year-old boy accused of participating in the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old girl in Little Rock while she was riding in a car with her mother and others.
The slaying sparked an ongoing increase in violence between feuding gang factions in the state’s capital city, police have said.
Larry James Jackson of North Little Rock and co-defendant Deshaun Malik Rushing, 21, of Little Rock were in circuit court for the first time Thursday to answer charges of capital murder and six counts each of unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.
Prosecutors announced that they will be seeking life sentences for the defendants.
Jackson and Rushing were arrested in May, six months after 2-year-old Ramiya Reed was shot when someone fired into the car containing her, her mother, an adult cousin and four other children.
Killed about two months after her second birthday, the little girl was the only one hit by bullets.
Since a downtown nightclub shooting last month wounded 28 people, a federal, state and local task force has been formed to focus on gang violence. Little Rock police attributed the Power Ultra Lounge shooting to a gang dispute, but so far no one has been charged in connection to the violence.
The only arrest directly related to the club shooting has been a bodyguard for the rap musician who was performing at the club, and he has been indicted on federal gun charges.
Little Rock has had 39 homicides this year. The city has averaged 40 a year since 1985, with killings peaking at 68 in 1993. The lowest was 24 slayings in 2010.
Jackson and Rushing appeared Thursday in separate