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Pree v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

October 3, 2019

Zavier PREE, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 381

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 60CR-15-2690], HONORABLE HERBERT WRIGHT, JUDGE

         Omar F. Greene, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         JOSEPHINE LINKER HART, Justice

          This case is once more before us after we have twice remanded it to the circuit court to supplement the record with materials that were omitted from the official transcript. Zavier Pree appeals from his conviction by a Pulaski County Circuit Court jury of capital murder, aggravated robbery, and a firearm enhancement, for which he received, respectively, a sentence of life without parole, a concurrent term of 40 years, and a consecutive term of ten years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the circuit court erred when it denied his motion to suppress (a) his statements to police recorded in a police-interrogation room and (b) an alleged nonrecorded custodial statement made while police escorted him to a police car. Our jurisdiction is pursuant to Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 1-2(a)(2).

          Pree posted a Facebook status asking if anyone wanted to make quick money. The victim, Aaron Crawford, "liked" Pree’s post, and the two started communicating through private messaging. Pree promised Crawford that he would pay him $300 if he gave him a ride from Jacksonville to Little Rock. On July 9, 2015, Crawford picked up Pree and drove him to the U.S. Bank ATM in North Little Rock.

          While parked at the ATM, Pree shot Mr. Crawford five times. Crawford crawled out of the car and ran across the street where witnesses called 911. North Little Rock police arrived a few minutes later. Crawford was covered in blood. Although

Page 382

he was in and out of consciousness, Crawford told police that he had been shot and his car was stolen.

          While processing the crime scene, officers found Crawford’s cell phone. When they opened the cell phone, a Google Maps page popped up. The map showed directions from Pree’s apartment in Jacksonville to the ATM at U.S. Bank. Crawford’s phone also revealed Facebook messages between Pree and him. On the morning of the murder, Pree messaged Mr. Crawford and told Crawford to tell him when he arrived in Jacksonville.

          Officers went to Pree’s address and saw Crawford’s stolen car nearby. Subsequently, Pree and two females got into the stolen vehicle. Pree was immediately arrested.

         An in-custody interrogation was conducted by Detective Dane Pedersen immediately after Pree’s arrest. Pree was read his Miranda warnings, and each right was explained to him. Pree acknowledged in writing that he was read each warning and that he understood it. Pree told the detective that he was nineteen years old and a graduate of Little Rock Central High School. Following the Miranda warnings, Pree confessed to shooting Crawford. Pree also told Detective Pedersen where to find the gun, and Detective Pedersen retrieved it from Pree’s apartment. At some point during the interrogation, Crawford died.

          While Detective Pedersen was retrieving the weapon, two Little Rock detectives asked to speak to Pree about two unrelated crimes. Pree was again Mirandized. Pree told the detectives that he did ...


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