A man accused of shooting another man four times in the head and back, and leaving his dead body in high weeds behind a cemetery, was found guilty by a Phillips County jury and sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday in Helena.
Cortez Barefield of Marvell was charged with the murder of Trent Lunsford. Special agents with the Arkansas State Police located Lunsford’s body the day after his murder after receiving information connecting Barefield and an accomplice to the crime. State Police, with the assistance of the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, were able to arrest Barefield at a home in West Helena and recovered the murder weapon, a Tech-9 type assault pistol painted with skulls.
Prosecuting Attorney Todd Murray said Barefield has a lengthy criminal history and claims a gang affiliation. Murray commended the jury for their verdict after the trial. “The citizens of Phillips County, and the State, need to know that we are all working together to make Phillips County a safer place to live and work. The people are fed up with crime, and the jury sent a very strong message today that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.”
Murray praised his deputy prosecutors, Amy Boyd and Faye Reed, for their hard work. He said, “They are really helping take the prosecutor’s office to a new level.” He also praised the work of the State Police investigators. Murray said that the State Police have extended the “highest level of cooperation” to his office and local law enforcement. Murray said, “I’ve known those guys for a long time, and they are some of the best investigators you will ever find. My hat is also off to their superiors. It really shows everyone’s solid commitment to fighting crime in and around Helena. We need the extra help right now, and they’re always here for us when we need them.”