No felony charges: Charleston man, accused in wife's death, won't be tried

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

By Scott Loftis

No felony charges will be filed against a Charleston man who was arrested in April in connection with his wife’s death at a Eureka Springs rental cabin in the summer of 2017.

Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson signed a document to that effect on July 15, after Heath Wayne Owens appeared at a hearing in Eureka Springs.

Owens, 48, had been accused of killing his wife, 45-year-old Linda Owens on June 17, 2017, at the cabin located at 361 Carroll County Road 117. Owens told deputies at the scene that his wife committed suicide, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Lt. Blake Ringberg of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, but investigators reopened the case after lab results indicated there was gunshot residue on Owens’ hands and clothing immediately after the incident.

According to Ringberg’s affidavit, Linda Owens was found shot in the chest and lying on her back on the back deck of the cabin. One live round and one spent round were found on the deck. The weapon was found in the grass on the ground 13 or 14 feet below the deck, the affidavit says.

Ringberg writes that he spoke with Dr. Jennifer Forsyth, a forensic pathologist at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory who performed the autopsy on Linda Owens.

“She felt that the death was suspicious due to the wounds and the facts of the case,” Ringberg writes.

No further details were available regarding the decision not to pursue charges against Owens, who had been free on a $150,000 bond.

Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers, who appeared at the July 15 hearing, could not be reached for comment this week.

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