Charges filed in Melbourne shooting one year later

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Charges against Matthew Garner, 32, of Sage, were filed by the 16th Judicial Prosecuting Attorneyís Office Oct. 30 regarding a shooting which took place over a year ago in October 2019.

According to an affidavit of probable cause for arrest, a series of incidents began Oct. 17, 2019 at approximately 3 a.m. when the victim, Kyle Cantrell, manager of the Sonic Restaurant in Melbourne, called the Izard County Sheriffís Office to report his home was on fire.

The Melbourne Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call, however; Cantrell had extinguished the fire prior to the departmentís arrival.

On Oct. 28, 2019, Cantrell called 911 at approximately 5:44 a.m. and told the authorities he had been shot twice as he was getting into his vehicle, parked in his front yard. While on the phone with 911, Cantrell was shot a third time.

When authorities arrived on scene, they found Cantrell shot and lying in his driveway.

When asked who shot him, Cantrell told the officers Matt Garner or another former employee (whose name has been redacted from the report).

Cantrell said both subjects had recently left the employment of Sonic.

During the course of the investigation, authorities learned Cantrell had recently taken the position of manager and during the course of his duties had fired Garner. The second subject had quit over an unrelated dispute.

Authorities proceeded to find the second subject and his wife. It was determined it was not likely the individual was involved in the shooting.

On the same day of the shooting, authorities attempted to locate Garner and found his vehicle at his motherís residence. After spending a substantial amount of time attempting to get Garner to come to the door, his mother arrived at her home.

The officers requested she enter the residence and ask Garner to come out and speak with the officers.

He told the officers he did not hear them knocking.

Garner was interviewed by officers and during the post-Miranda interview, said he was not fired from Sonic, but knew he had been taken off the work schedule because he had missed several days of work.

He claimed to be home watching YouTube and playing games on his home computer during the time of the shooting. Garner said the computer could prove he was home when the shooting occurred.

He then gave officers consent to search his computer which showed no activity between 1 and 7 a.m., the morning of the shooting.

Garner then provided law enforcement with his cell phone number and gave consent for a search of the content of his phone.

In speaking with Garnerís mother, she told officers she had lent her car to Garner to go to Batesville the night prior and Garner had returned the car at around noon, but was unsure why Garner had not taken his truck.

Investigators sought and obtained a search warrant for the telephone records on Garnerís phone and an initial analysis showed Garner traveling from his residence to the Cantrell residence on the morning of the shooting.

On Nov. 7, 2019, Cantrell was interviewed while at a hospital in Little Rock. He told the deputy who responded to the scene of the shooting who he believed had shot him. He told authorities he had fired Garner approximately eight days prior to the fire he had extinguished at his residence.

On Jan. 2, 2020, Garner was interviewed for a second time and asked to account for his whereabouts the day of the shooting.

Garner again claimed to be home on his computer and sleeping during the time of the shooting and did not leave until after the sun had come up.

When confronted with the data collected from his cellphone in addition to other records, Garner admitted the data was correct with the exception of being at Cantrellís residence.

He admitted he had told the investigator who reviewed his cell phone he was worried it would show he had driven by Cantrellís residence that morning.

His phone records were forwarded to a third party for review and evaluation and it was determined Garner had been at Cantrellís residence at the time of the shooting.

Cantrell sustained serious injuries during and following the shooting.

As a result of the investigation, Garner was placed under arrest and has been charged with one count criminal attempt (capital murder), a class Y felony and battery in the first degree, a class B felony.

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