By Ray King

The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected arguments from a Pine Bluff man convicted of murder in 2019 who contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Antonio Bailey, 25, was sentenced to 45 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder and using a firearm to kill Patrick McKenzie on April 28, 2018.

Trial testimony was that Bailey and McKenzie fought on the bank of Lake Saracen before shooting McKenzie and drowning him in the lake. Bailey then went to an upholstery shop where he was found in a back bedroom hiding under a blanket.

Bailey argued that he was acting in self-defense and said McKenzie pulled a gun and attempted to rob him and following the close of the prosecution’s case his attorney asked for a directed verdict but that was denied by Circuit Judge Alex Guynn.

Writing for the Appeals Court, Associate Justice Mike Murphy said prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to disprove Bailey’s claim with the testimony of two witnesses who said Bailey pulled a gun and shot McKenzie with no provocation. They also testified that McKenzie did not have a gun that day and did not attempt to rob Bailey. Also, the evidence showed that Bailey attempted to hide from police and lied to them.

Bailey is serving his sentence at the Grimes Unit and will be eligible to apply for parole on July 1, 20230.