Appeals Court upholds Rouse conviction and sentence

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By Ray King

A Pine Bluff man convicted of a 2019 murder failed to convince the Arkansas Court of Appeals he was justified in using deadly physical force against the victim.

Jason Rouse, now 39, is serving a 28-year prison sentence at the North Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections in Calico Rock after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder of Odell Langford on March 23, 2019.

Trial testimony showed that Rouse and his fiancée, Nakwiahi Dalton, who was Langford’s sister, argued before Rouse shot Langford and the altercation was recorded on video cameras both inside and outside the house where the shooting occurred.

In his appeal, Rouse contended that he believed Langford was about to use unlawful deadly force, claiming Rouse had made threats, displayed a rifle, and charged him and the two “wrestled and tussled.”

He also contended Langford may have put a gun in his pants but police were unable to locate one.

After the state presented his case, Rouse’s attorney moved for a directed verdict, which Judge Alex Guynn denied with his attorney saying that Rouse was in fear of his life and that most of the gunshots that hit Langford were in the legs, which is not an indication of intending to kill him.

The Appeals Court decision said the shooting was recorded on video and the jury was able to see what happened, refuting Rouse’s testimony that Langford was armed and charged at Rouse after being shot.

Rouse will be eligible to apply for parole in 2039.