$750,000 bond set for an accused of first-degree murder


By Ray King

A $750,000 bond was set Wednesday for a Pine Bluff man accused of shooting another man to death on Sunday.


Jefferson County Judge Kim Bridgforth set the bond after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge Johnny Smithwick, 53, with first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police reported that officers were sent to 5511 W. Mosley St., in the Dollarway area at 10:50 p.m. in response to a reported shooting.

Deputy Prosecutor Mircha King said during the court hearing Wednesday when officers arrived, they found the victim on the floor and attempted lifesaving measures until emergency medical personnel arrived and said the victim showed no signs of life.


The victim, later identified as Steven Sanson, 42, of Pine Bluff, was pronounced dead at the scene.

King said police located witnesses to the incident and told the court what they said.


Detective Chris Wieland attempted to interview Smithwick after he was taken into custody, but Smithwick asked for an attorney, so no interview was conducted.

King said Smithwick has multiple prior felony convictions dating back to 1985 and a pending 2021 charge of theft by receiving, He is also listed as a parole absconder.

Smithwick was told to come back to court on April 14.