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Baxter County Patrol Vehicle



Johnnie Carl Baker

UPDATE:  December 6, 2012

An arrest has now been made in connection with the shooting incident on November 12th at 29 Major Street in Norfork, Arkansas that resulted in the death of 65 year old Dennis Franklin Chapman of Salesville. 

During the investigation that proceeded after the incident, Sheriff’s Investigators led by Lt. Terry Johnson, Special Agents with the Arkansas State Police, and the Norfork Police Department were able to collect sufficient evidence to present to the Prosecuting Attorney seeking the filing of criminal charges against 47 year old JOHNNIE CARL BAKER of Salesville. BAKER had shot Chapman in the face and claimed it was accidental.

During the investigation, evidence indicated that JOHNNIE BAKER had loaded the weapon, a Marlin 30/30 lever action rifle, the day before the shooting occurred, and that the weapon had remained loaded from that time.  BAKER told Investigators that he had thrown a Pepsi bottle to the victim, Chapman, and told him he was going to shoot the bottle.  BAKER stated Chapman was holding the bottle in his hand.  BAKER told Investigators that the gun had discharged on its own, and that he did not recall having his finger on the trigger.  After the shooting took place, BAKER unloaded the empty shell from the rifle and handed it to another person who was at the residence when the shooting happened.  Although BAKER told Investigators the shooting was accidental and the weapon discharged on its own, the weapon is of a type and manufacture that must be manually manipulated in order for it to fire.  The level action rifle has an exposed hammer.  In order for the weapon to fire, the action must be manually worked, or the exposed hammer must be deliberately pulled back into the cocked position prior to the trigger being pulled.  The pointing of a firearm at another person, let alone a firearm which JOHNNIE BAKER personally loaded and knew to be loaded, demonstrated an extreme indifference to the value of human life. 

The Prosecuting Attorney filed a felony charge of Murder in the Second Degree against JOHNNIE CARL BAKER, and a Bench Warrant was issued for his arrest.  He was taken into custody this afternoon and transported to the Baxter County Detention Center where he was incarcerated in lieu of $100,000 bond.  BAKER will appear in Baxter County Circuit Court on December 13, 2012 to answer the charge.

Norfork Police Chief Jim Griffin was instrumental in assisting with the investigation, gathering evidence, and arranging for interviews and transport for BAKER and other witnesses.  His diligence permitted authorities to follow through to a prompt resolution of the incident through a successful investigation and the filing of a criminal charge.

/s/ Sheriff John Montgomery


Original Release Below:

November 12, 2012 at approximately 8:40 pm, 911 received a call from a female who stated a man had been shot accidentally at 29 Major Street in Norfork, Arkansas.

Deputies from the Baxter County Sheriff Office along with Norfork Police Chief Jim Griffin, First Responders from Norfork Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Personnel from Baxter Regional Medical Center responded to the scene. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Baxter County Coroner’s Office.

Two investigators from the Arkansas State Police along with two Investigators from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office began the investigation. Evidence was collected at the scene and persons present during the incident interviewed.

The deceased has been identified as 65 year old Dennis Franklin Chapman of Salesville. The body of the deceased is being sent to the Arkansas Medical Examiner’s Office in Little Rock. The investigation is continuing.

Sheriff John Montgomery