Shawna Cash Murders Officer In Arkansas

Shawna Cash is a convicted killer from Arkansas who was convicted of the murder of Officer Kevin Apple

According to court documents Shawna Cash and Elijah Andazola were pulled over on a traffic stop. However soon after the driver, Shawna Cash, would take off ramming the police car and pinning Officer Apple between the two cars which would cause his death. Cash would take off again and would later crash the car and be arrested

Shawna Cash would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole

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Shawna Cash Case

An on-duty Pea Ridge officer died on June 26, 2021, after being hit and run over by a car at a gas station. 

After three years, Officer Kevin Apple’s case is one step closer to being laid to rest after the driver of the car, Shawna Cash, has been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole after nearly three hours of jury deliberations.

Not only has this case gone on for a few years, but it has sparked a lot of community interest. From Cash’s initial guilty plea in September 2021 to several law enforcement agencies showing up for Officer Apple’s funeral procession, here is a timeline of the case. 

At approximately 11:24 a.m. on June 26, the Pea Ridge Police Department (PRPD) was alerted by Rogers police about a blue SUV they had been following. Police say at 12:09 p.m., Pea Ridge Police located the vehicle parked at the White Oak Gas Station on N. Curtis Avenue. 

Officer Apple and Officer Brian Stamps attempted to contact the vehicle occupants, who were later identified as Shawna Cash and Elijah Andazola, but an altercation erupted. 

Police said the vehicle then rammed into the police car as the suspects were fleeing, pinning Officer Apple between two vehicles and killing him. Officer Apple was also dragged nearly 150 feet by the vehicle, according to an affidavit. Officer Stamps was not injured in the incident. 

“It’s something nobody should ever have to see is a horrific act,” Jim Erwin, who had witnessed the incident, said. 

Erwin helped stop the suspects after he witnessed Cash and Andazola run over Officer Apple. Within seconds, he says he jumped into his car to chase down the pair.

“I never had a second thought I never was concerned about anything but making sure those folks were caught,” he said.

Erwin followed them for around 8.5 miles, from Pea Ridge to Bella Vista, notifying law enforcement every step of the way.

“We stayed on him…for Mr. Apple,” said Erwin.

With the help of several surrounding departments, including the Rogers Police Department, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, and more, the two suspects were successfully located in Bella Vista and taken into custody without incident after crashing their vehicle. According to police, Andazola did try to run away from officers but was later found in a camper trailer. Both Cash and Andazola were transported to the Benton County Jail. 

“Helping stop the people who killed a beloved community member. If you tell him he’s a hero, he’ll tell you no. I just did what any good neighbor should do,” Erwin said. “The real heroes are the local law enforcement, not me. The real hero is Mr. Apple.”

day after his death, community members gathered to remember Officer Apple.

“He was nice. He was caring. He was compassionate,” Patricia Burris, who witnessed Apple’s death and had several encounters with him.

“He’s really going to be a person that we really miss,” Bob Rich, a former neighbor of Officer Apple for over 10 years, said.

The Pea Ridge officer was a friend to everyone and always willing to help.

“Kevin came out to cut my grass, worked my flower beds, took the trash out,” Sharla Rich, a former neighbor of Officer Apple, said when recalling the many times he’s helped their family over the past 10 years.

Officer Apple was a 23-year police veteran and served with the Pea Ridge Police Department for three years.

“Our department is in shock right now,” PRPD said. “We are a hometown, and everyone in our police department is family, and so we ask that you give us and our family some space. Give us some patience and time, and we do appreciate your support.”

Then-Governor Asa Hutchinson ordered flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Officer Apple. Hutchinson released the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple. My prayers are with Officer Apple’s family and the entire Pea Ridge community during this time.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also issued the following statement regarding the death of Officer Apple:

“My heart aches as today marks the end of Officer Kevin Apple’s watch. He will forever be remembered for his unwavering commitment to safeguarding his community from harm. As the chief law enforcement officer of the state, I send my deepest condolences and prayers to Officer Apple’s family, friends, and his brothers and sisters in blue. He has left a lasting impression on law enforcement statewide and this is a devastating loss for the local community.”

Officer Apple’s funeral was held on July 2. His funeral procession traveled through Highway 72, Highway 94, Highway 102, and I-49. Arkansas State Police completely shut down the southbound section of the interstate for the memorial.

“It’s a tremendous void that will be very difficult to fill for Kevin Apple in this department, in fact, I think it will be impossible, in his own unique way,” Lt. Michael Lisenbee said.

“I have received so many messages from the public about how he has changed people’s lives and helped children. For his whole career, he has helped people. We have an elderly lady, I found out this morning [of June 30, 2021] that he went by there one time and he’s been going back there every day and making sure she’s okay. That’s just the kind of man Apple was,” Chief Lynn Hahn said.

Shawna Cash of Pine Bluff and Andazola of Bella Vista were officially charged with capital murder on June 28, 2021

Andazola was charged with capital murder in connection with Officer Apple’s death and was held without bond, while Cash was charged with capital murder and was not given a bond.

Cash had been identified as the driver of the vehicle that struck Officer Apple.

An affidavit following the incident showed police questioning Cash and Andazola about what happened leading up to Officer Apple’s death. Neither took responsibility for the fatal crash then. 

Andazola said Cash was driving and that he was in shock after the vehicle struck Officer Apple, and Cash said she was just doing what she was told to do and that she tends to “blackout” during stressful situations. 

Cash told investigators she had smoked marijuana the morning of Officer Apple’s death, but that neither she nor Andazola had done any other substances

ash pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges for the death of Officer Apple on Sept. 16, 2021.

Shawna Cash entered the plea in the Benton County Circuit Court. Prosecutors, however, said they were seeking the death penalty.

Shawna Cash’s capital murder trial in the death of Officer Apple began on Jan. 29, but the first week was dedicated to jury selection.

The courtroom was at max capacity on the first day with 182 potential jurors. The judge qualified the panel by asking potential jurors if they knew the prosecution, the defense, or any potential witnesses.

Before recess on the trial’s first day, Cash’s attorneys raised concerns about the prosecutor’s power to subpoena witnesses testifying on mitigating factors for the defense. They said this might cause a “chilling effect” on their witnesses’ testimony because they will be under oath.

Judge Karren said he didn’t see a problem with the subpoenas due to previous case law.

The judge did emphasize the courtroom was open to public viewing, including off-duty police. Because the case involved a fallen officer, many law enforcement officers were expected to attend even if they were not testifying.

On Feb. 2, the jury selection was finished, and the trial was set to move forward the next week.

Benton County jury found Cash guilty of Officer Apple’s death in 2021.

The verdict was determined after jury deliberations on Feb. 7 and 8, two days after the state rested its case in Cash’s capital murder trial.

Although jury selection began on Jan. 29, the first full day of the trial was on Monday, Feb. 5.

The prosecution called at least 11 witnesses during the first full day of the trial, including an officer who was on the scene at the time of the incident. The gallery was filled with spectators watching as prosecutors argued Cash “made a choice” when she hit and killed Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple with a car in 2021.

While on the stand, Officer Stamps recalled the scene and said he heard and saw Cash drive as fast as she could away from the gas station as Apple told her to “stop.” Stamps said Apple repeatedly yelled at Cash, “Don’t do it.” As Shawna Cash drove away, Stamps said he fired his service weapon multiple times in an effort to stop her.

Other testimonies on the first day came from Fayetteville and Farmington officers who had previous run-ins with Shawna Cash within the year prior to the 2021 incident.

The prosecution also showed the jury photos, drone video, and hard evidence of the crime scene.

On the second full day of trial, pedestrian witnesses in the area recalled the day of the incident, with one witness saying he ran straight towards Apple’s body after noticing it in the street.

By the third day, the state rested its case, and jury deliberations began on Feb. 7.

After the jury was read its instructions, the defense counsel rested their case without calling any witnesses and delivered closing arguments.

The defense made the argument that Cash’s consequences did not align with her purpose. They claimed Shawna Cash was not thinking about killing Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple, rather his death was a consequence of her intentions to flee from police.

The defense also asked the jury to find her guilty of second-degree murder instead of capital murder. However, prosecutors previously stated they would seek the death penalty.

The prosecution told the jury that “justice demands that we call this what it is—capital murder.”

Benton County jury sentenced Shawna Cash to life in prison without parole for killing Officer Apple on Feb. 13 after nearly three hours of jury deliberations.

The sentencing phase began a day after Cash’s conviction on Friday, Feb. 9.

On the first day of sentencing, two former elementary school teachers of Shawna Cash testified that they remembered her as a quiet kid with very few friends. Reports from the Arkansas Department of Human Services were introduced that reportedly stated Cash would show up to school with infected tick bites and health issues, which led to a hospital stay and even reports of sexual abuse.

The sentencing phase continued on Monday, Feb. 12, where Shawna Cash’s former boyfriend, her brother, and her psychiatrist took the stand before the defense rested its case as to why she should not receive the death penalty.

Her former boyfriend, Tristan Smith, who is currently serving a prison sentence at the Arkansas Department of Corrections was the first to take the stand on Monday.

Shawna Cash’s lawyers said she lived with Smith and his family while she was a teen. While she was living with his family, Smith testified that was when Cash started taking methamphetamine.

Smith said that Shawna Cash saved his life once while he tried to commit suicide. Although he said he did not want to testify, he hoped his testimony could help save her life.

Kendra Roberts, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who has prescribed medications for Cash, testified about Cash’s medications and their uses.

She mentioned that she diagnosed Shawna Cash with two instances of psychosis in the past. Roberts agreed with the prosecution that a large portion of the diagnosis comes from self-reporting. Shawna Cash’s medical and school records were also presented to the jury.

Before resting their case, the defense recalled Shawna Cash’s brother to the stand. He was asked what losing Cash would mean to him.

“It’s going to hurt. It’s going to suck,” he said.

On the trial’s final day, both sides made one last push—the state asking for the death penalty and the defense counsel trying to save her life.

On Tuesday, the prosecution called one rebuttal witness to the stand. They also replayed Shawna Cash’s phone call from jail on Dec. 12, 2021, where she laughed about her weight gain and said she didn’t think she was going to be found guilty of capital murder.

Prosecuting Attorney Josh Robinson called Shawna Cash’s actions on June 26, 2021, an attack on law and order. He told the jury that their decision sends a message to the community on what is tolerated and what isn’t.

Defense Attorney Katherine Street pleaded with the jury to recognize the damage beneath the woman who committed the murder and reminded the jury that taking Cash’s life would not bring back Officer Apple’s.

Andazola is being charged with being an accomplice to capital murder and will face trial in March.

https://www.5newsonline.com/article/news/crime/shawna-cash-murder-case-arkansas-officer/527-e6dd1c7e-13ac-4d0f-833a-c06f020bcd55

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