The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 4, 2012

Jury selection begins in case in McDonald County


news@joplinglobe.com



PINEVILLE, Mo. — Jury selection began Tuesday in Pineville in the trial of an Arkansas man accused of the shotgun slaying of his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend and the wounding of another man.

Brian J. Clapper, 32, of Bentonville, is facing charges of first-degree murder and first-degree assault as well as two counts of armed criminal action in the death of John R. Bevill II, 34, of rural Washburn, and the injury of Kendrick Long, 22, of Rogers, Ark.

Authorities say Clapper shot Bevill twice and Long once with a shotgun on Sept. 23 of last year in a driveway at 445 Cecil Epling Way in southeastern McDonald County.

Clapper reportedly was assisting Karis Cunigan in retrieving her possessions from Bevill’s home on Cecil Epling Way the day of the shooting. They left some of her possessions in a storage building owned by another man while they hauled a load to Arkansas. When they returned to get the remainder, a confrontation took place with Bevill, who was Cunigan’s ex-boyfriend, and Long.

According to a probable-cause affidavit based primarily on Cunigan’s and the defendant’s accounts, Bevill grabbed Cunigan by the throat. Clapper told investigators that he told Bevill several times to let her go, but he did not. He also claimed that Bevill had a knife in his other hand.

Clapper acknowledged retrieving a loaded shotgun from his vehicle and telling Bevill again to let Cunigan go or he would shoot. He then reportedly shot Bevill in the arm. As Cunigan was escaping Bevill’s clutches, Clapper allegedly fired a second shot, striking Bevill in the groin, and then turned and fired twice at Long, hitting him in the arm, according to the affidavit.