Mr. Steven Baylark was found dead laying in the doorway of his home Friday, February 22, 2019.
“Mr, Steven Baylark had returned home, after he had been out that day,” said Helena-West Helena Police Chief Patrick Smith. “Three individuals, Christopher Mayfield, Derian Troope and Latasha Thrift appeared to have conspired together to actually rob Mr. Baylark. They believed that Mr. Baylark received a large sum of money and that their intent was to go and rob him. I believe, based on the information we were provided, it was a robbery that went bad.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Baylark was killed and he had actually been left there from about 11:00 p.m. Thursday night all the way until 8:30 a.m. the following morning when a relative found him in the doorway and called 911,” said Chief Smith. “Officers arrived on the scene, Pafford and the Coroner arrived as well and it was ruled that he was dead on the scene.”
“Several leads came in,” said Chief Smith. “We followed up on those leads and we brought in Christopher Mayfield that day. He was found just down the street from where Mr. Baylark was, we observed him climbing out a window. We brought him in and put him on a 48 hour hold to interview him. Later we began to look for Latasha Thrift. We had gone all over the city trying to find her. She was going place to place. Saturday morning, February 23, 2019, we were able to apprehend her to bring her in and question her.”
“It was a bad thing, because Mr. Baylark , the day before his murder, he had taken Latasha Thrift’s children out shopping. He knew these individuals,” said Chief Smith. “It’s a sad day for our community being that a man of God, a man who has given his ultimate life to try to help people. For him to have his life taken like that. It says a lot about our community, the changes our community is going through. It says a lot about the times, where at one point we tried to help each other no matter what our color was. But now, we’re in some perilous times, some difficult times, that we have to start looking at who can we trust? What individuals can we trust now?”
“I’m saddened. The whole Helena-West Helena Police Department is saddened also to know someone who is a dear friend to all of us, being in this community, has passed due to senseless violence,” said Chief Smith.
These three individuals lived on the same street at Mr. Baylark, about four or five houses down the street.
“On Monday, February 25th, we executed a Search Warrant at 1207 Walnut,” said Chief Smith. “The house looked like it was just in disarray. The living conditions was poor. To believe that three by five individuals, two young ladies, young children were in that house and three adults. It didn’t make any sense, and I was saddened to see my town this way, suffering with poverty.”
“A lot of this crime that we have is basically poverty,” said Chief Smith. “It’s no jobs, no resources, nothing that can help our people. There is nothing there for them. So, they result to survival of the fitest, they kick in survival mode and the only mode they know is violence and chaos.”
“The only thing thats going to help them survive is get whatever they need,” said Chief Smith.
At the current time all three suspects are in custody. Mayfield, Thrift and Troope are held without bond.