No. 9 Crime Story of the Year: Shooting alarms Green Forest, yields attempted murder charge

Friday, December 28, 2012
Trevor Elder

GREEN FOREST -- Carroll County News' No. 9 crime of the year is the case of Trevor Elder, who was charged with attempted capital murder after police say he drove by his estranged wife outside Jim's Drive-In and fired several shots at her in July.

A trial date was recently set for the drive-by shooting suspect, 26.

At a discovery hearing in Eureka Springs last week, the state requested DNA from Elder to be sent to the state crime lab for testing.

In late July, Elder was arrested and charged after he allegedly fired three shots at his estranged wife, police said. This was an escalation of a string of threats he made against her, police reports show.

No one was injured in the shooting. According to an affidavit by Green Forest Police Det. Tommy Hayden, Jessica Kennedy, who was with Amanda Elder that day, saw Trevor Elder stick a gun out the window of his car as he drove past. She yelled to Amanda as Trevor fired three shots, she told police.

One penetrated the car seat where Kennedy's 5-year-old son had been sitting only moments before. A second bullet hit the exterior of the building, near where Amanda stood. Trevor Elder sped away from the scene, police said.

When Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey and Sgt. Gaylon Riggs responded to the emergency call, they saw Trevor's red Chevrolet Corsica turn south onto Butler Avenue. They began to pursue him. Shortly afterward, Bailey said, the dispatcher alerted them to what had happened at Jim's Drive-In.

They pursued Elder, who pulled off the road into a residence, where he was soon arrested after Bailey found bullet casings in the vehicle. Later, Green Forest Animal Control Officer Verlin Griggs found a handgun in a nearby ditch.

Hours before the shooting, Amanda received a warning note from her husband threatening violence against her, police reports show. She found the ominous note on the windshield of her car, according to an affidavit from Det. Hayden.

The note read, "So I went and picked up a 40 mm handgun, and now I am sittin' here staring at it. Pretty wild, huh?" The note was signed by her husband and dated July 19, police told CCN.

A week prior to the shooting, Amanda called for help. She told the dispatcher that her husband had been following her, according to an affidavit submitted later by Allen Phillips of the Green Forest Police Department. She also filed reports with the police department in Eureka Springs and Berryville and with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

Phillips reported patrolling the area several times in search of Trevor Elder. However, he was unsuccessful. Amanda told Phillips that this was an ongoing problem and that she feared what her husband was capable of doing.

Cheryl Kennedy, a close family friend of Amanda Elder's, said Amanda had complained to authorities many times in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

In one instance, Kennedy said, Trevor had allegedly jumped out and thrown a rock at his wife's car as she left for work. He then followed her to her workplace and later tried to run her off the road with his car, Amanda told Kennedy.

"She was constantly looking over her shoulder," Kennedy told Carroll County News.

Cheryl Kennedy was at home when the shooting occurred. Her daughter, Jessica, called her in hysterics. Cheryl sent family members to retrieve Jessica's two sons from the crime scene. She said she was relieved that the boys were not injured, but she noted that things could have easily turned out much differently.

Cheryl Kennedy said she felt the authorities did not do enough to put Trevor Elder behind bars.

"I think they could have done a little better," she said. "It almost cost several people their lives."

"It disgusts me that when you have someone like that who's trying to do something and get out of this situation, that it has to come to someone almost being killed before anything's done about it."

Bailey said he thought his department had done all they could, given the information they had available. "I felt that our agency, in fact, acted as quickly as possible," he said. "I don't know what we could have done differently."

Since his arrest after the shooting, Elder has been held at the Carroll County Detention Center on a $2 million bond. His next hearing before Judge Kent Crow is set for March 11 in Berryville. His trial date has been set for August 2013.

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