Men take deal for 2nd degree charge
Two men charged with first degree murder in the death of an Agnos man pleaded guilty to lesser charges July 1 in Fulton County Circuit Court.
According to a plea agreement with 16th Judicial District Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Plumlee, Timothy J. Est, 20, and Jesse Petty, 21, both of Batesville were found guilty of second degree murder in the death of Russell "Joe" Fisk.
Est was sentenced to seven years in the prison and Petty was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison.
Petty's sentence was enhanced because of previous drug charges in Independence County.
During his plea, Est wept, and at one point told Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver, "I didn't do it."
Weaver looked at Est and asked him, "Why did you negotiate a plea with the prosecutor's office?"
Before Est could reply his attorney, David Throesch of Pocahontas, intervened on behalf of his client and whispered something in Est's ear.
Petty showed no emotion during his sentencing, answering all of Weaver's questions with, "Yes, sir."
Officials in the Fulton County clerk's office said Petty purchased a marriage license prior to his conviction.
The second degree murder charges against Est and Petty stem from a June 24, 2002, incident in which Fisk was beaten to death.
According to law enforcement officials, Est, Petty, Bryan Shankle, Bobby Woodrum and Billy Jack Wilson went to Fisk's home to collect money Woodrum claimed Fisk owed him for lawn care work.
Woodrum, 19, and Shankle, 20, entered Fisk's home and argued with Fisk about the money.
Woodrum struck Fisk in the face, causing him to hit his head against a cabinet. Woodrum and Shankle fled from the scene.
According to his autopsy report, Fisk suffered from a broken neck and back. An object was inserted into his brain and twisted.
Woodrum and Shankle were charged with capital murder. Woodrum was sentenced Nov. 5 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and Shankle was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
In a Nov. 9 interview, Shankle said Est played a role in the murder.
Shankle's said he and Woodrum were talking to Fisk when Est, Petty and Wilson entered Fisk's home.
Shankle said Fisk told him and Woodrum not to bring strangers to his house.
Fisk grabbed a rifle and a fight ensued. Shankle said he grabbed Fisk's arm to prevent him from shooting his friends.
At one point, he said, Est told Woodrum to give him his belt and Est wrapped the belt around Fisk's neck. Woodrum and Est pulled on the belt until it broke, according to Shankle.
Shankle said Fisk was still conscious and continued to struggle with his attackers. He said Woodrum found a tire iron and Est told Woodrum to hit Fisk in the head. He said after three or four blows Fisk passed out.
The five intruders left the house but returned soon after to destroy any evidence they had left behind.
Shankle said Woodrum and Est re-entered Fisk's home and Fisk was still alive. He said Est told Woodrum to "stick him" with the tire iron and Woodrum drove the tool through Fisk's skull.
Throesch said he wanted the court to note that Est had no idea what the outcome of that night would be.
Est and Petty will be held in the Fulton County jail until they can be transported to a state correctional facility.Weaver denied a request by Throesch to let Est remain free on bond while a space in the state's correctional system opens.