FROM COURT FILED AND POLICE DOCUMENTATION
Sixteenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Plumlee filed two murder charges against two women today, June 5, in separate and unrelated cases that occurred just one day a part. Both women charged in the cases are nurses.
Brandon Chrisco Murder
The mother of Brandon Chrisco, 27, was charged with Second Degree Murder, a Class A Felony in her son’s death. 43-year-old Tabatha Lynn Pebler of Ash Flat, was arrested on May 31 after the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call from Pebler who was at the 100 Block of Stonewood Road in Fulton County. She told police she had shot her son. Prior to the shooting, the affidavit states she had gone to get her son to help her after getting her lawn mower stuck. She said her son called her a name and pushed her off the mower. She then went to her vehicle which was located about 250 yards away and got her pistol out of the console.
Pebler told police she had taken the short way to the vehicle and her son took the long way. She explained and that he was still coming after her so she fired warning shots at him. She told police she was not meaning to kill him, but just wanted to scare him and make him stop. Chrisco was shot in the upper left side of his chest with the bullet passing through his body. Shell casings retrieved from the scene included one 17 feet from a tree near Chrisco’s body and a second one seventy feet from the other. The evidence gathered at the scene suggested Pebler retrieved the firearm from her car, moved eighteen feet toward Brandon and fired a round, then she moved another 52 feet toward Brandon and fired the fatal shot within twenty 20 feet of her son, causing his death. Pebler was taken into custody at the scene. Bond was set at $25,000 Cash or professional by District Judge Larry Kissee. Pebler posted the bond on June 5 by T-Gard Bail Bonds and was given a June 7 date in Fulton County Circuit Court. Gray and Mathew Dillinger have filed documents for discovery in the case with the court as Pebler’s attorney.
David Southerland Murder
A Viola woman remains jailed on a $1 million bond for the murder of 59-year-old David Southerland of Viola. Fulton County Sheriff Jake Smith reported that Southerland’s body was located near Viola on June 1. The Arkansas State Police were requested to assist with the investigation. On June 4, Fulton County Sheriff Jake Smith confirmed a person of interest in the case gave a confession during an interview with investigators. Both Sheriff Smith and Fulton County Detective William Fawcett responded to a call from Dennis Berry at 1174 Briarwood Road in Fulton County. According to the affidavit, Southerland’s body had one wound to the back of his neck and was severely beaten in the head. According to the charging document, Southerland also had a piece of barbed wire around his neck evidence someone attempted to burn his body. A partial can of lighter fluid was found near Southerland’s body. On June 2, Berry advised Fulton County Detective Dale Weaver that Stacie Hickman had borrowed his white Ford Ranger on May 30 when Southerland was present and was asked to follow her in his white Dodge Caliber around noon or one p.m. the same day. This was the last day he was seen by Berry. A witness who lives in the shop building behind Berry’s residence advised the officers he heard the truck drive in but did not hear it leave. Both men stated that Southerland left in his car and that he and Stacie were friends who had been around one another. After his body was discovered, a theft report was done on his car and entered into the Arkansas Crime Information and National Crime Information Center as being stolen. On the night of June 2, Southerland’s vehicle was located in front of the Arkansas Highway Department building on Highway 62 in Salem. Stacie Hickman,30, was inside the vehicle. She was taken into custody and driven to the Fulton County Detention Center. On June 3, 2023,Weaver and Fulton County Investigator Blair Ables inter-viewed Hickman. In a post Miranda statement Hickman confessed to shooting and burning David Southerland’s body. She advised the fire-arm she used was the rifle that was found and seized from the White Ford Ranger on June 2, 2023, by Det. Weaver and Lt. William Fawcett. The vehicle was parked in the yard of Dennis Berry’s residence. According to the affidavit, Hickman stated during the interview that Southerland was trying to get some land that she said was actually supposed to be hers. On the morning of May 31, 2023,Hickman sent a text message to her father, Billy Comstock stating, “Hey it’s on the property .. have a little issue, but I have it taken care of via our loyalty to the land and convo didn’t go well but umm let them know I’ll be there shortly. I’m fixing to pull in.” Her father had texted Hickman around9 a.m., asking if she had returned the truck. Hickman stat-ed she shot David Southerland with the rifle one time causing his death and then attempted to burn his body. Bond was set at$1 million for First Degree Murder, a Class Y Felony, punishable by 40 years to life, Felony with a Firearm , a Class C Felony and Abuse of a Corpse, a Class C Felony. Hickman remains jailed on the charges. Court documents show she was recently arrested in Fulton County on possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, a Class D Felony. The charge came after she was initially arrested on May 7 for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. While being booked into the Fulton County Jail, Hickman allegedly handed a jailer a piece of aluminum foil to dispose of. The foil tested positive for methamphetamine. According to the charging document, Hickman admitted, that she had recently used methamphetamine. She was out on a $5,000 bond at the time of the murder. She was due in court on June 12 to be arraigned on the drug charge. This news agency will continue to follow both cases through the adjudication process and provide updates as they become available.