A Ouachita County woman charged in the shooting death of her husband refused to sign a plea deal on January 13, 2022, which would have reduced charges to manslaughter, claiming that she was unhappy with the way she was represented by her attorney.
Elizabeth Haynie is charged with first-degree murder with a fiream enhancement in the shooting death of her husband, Jerome Haynie.
At Friday's hearing, Haynie stated that she was unable to contact her lawyer, Christopher Shane Ethridge, and was disatisfied with the lack of evidence he shared with her.
Ethridge stated, "Your honor, as the court is aware, we've had this set for entry of plea and sentencing for quite some time now. In the hallway, my client has, I guess, refused to sign the judicial district plea of guilty statement... I also represent Miss Haynie in the probate case that was opened after the death of Mr. Haynie. She is unhappy with things that are happening in the probate case that are out of my control based on things that the administator of that estate could have or should have done."
He further asked to withdraw from the case.
"If she's not going to enter into this plea that we've had for two or three months, I would request a withdrawal from the case. She's not listening to me. This is the best case scenario for what's happening in this case. I just don't think if we can agree on where we, that I should continue to be her attorney," he said.
Court documents dated Jan. 13 show that Ethridge withdrew as Haynie's attorney in the criminal case..
Additonally, documents filed in the probate case for Jerome Haynie state that Ethridge is withdrawing from that case citing, "a conflict that has arisen in a recent criminal case between counsel and the Respondent and the complete breakdown of the attorney client relationship."
A trial date for Haynie has been set for April 24-27 and the state plans to go forward with the first-degree murder charges.
An affidavit from Ouachita County Sheriff's Department states that on September 6, 2021 deputies were dispatched to a residence on Highway 24 where they met Haynie, who was "hysterically stating to come inside and that her husband needed an ambulance."
Two juvenile males were also present outside the residence, and Haynie told police her juvenile daughter was inside the home.
According to police, the deputies followed Haynie inside the home, where they found a man, later identified as Jerome Haynie, lying on the floor, where blood was pooled around his head and on his chest.
A Glock handgun was also found on the floor near his hands, according to police.
The report states that deputies asked Haynie what happened and she stated, "We were arguing. We keep a gun right there on the gun cabinet and he was pushing me, and I grabbed it and he pushed me and it went off."
One of the children told police that none of them saw anything happen, but that they had heard a loud bang, according to the report. She told deputies her mother entered her room and told her to call an ambulance.
Another one of the children present told police that their parents "argued every once in a while: and that it had been physical in the past from both parents." They stated that there had never been punching but mainly pushing, according to the report.
EMS arrived and determined that Jerome Haynie was dead.
Deputies observed a gunshot wound on the upper left side of his chest.
Haynie was released on an signature bond of $10,000 by Judge Hamilton Singleton.