Sentencing delayed in Paschall murder trial

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Paschall attorney seeking mental evaluation for man found guilty

A Springdale man found guilty of murdering two Barry County residents has had his sentencing delayed pending questions surrounding his mental competence.

Christopher Paschall, 40, of Springdale, Ark., was found guilty by a Newton County jury of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and a single count of parental kidnapping after slaying Casey Brace, 28, and her grandfather, Herbert Townsend, 76, in Washburn in 2015, then taking his daughter to his motherís home in Springdale.

Paschall faces life in prison without parole. Circuit Judge Jack Goodman ordered a mental health examination in December, and a report on that examination was filed on March 7. The defense requested a second opinion, and the judge granted that April 11. A request to have Paschall transported to California for the second opinion, involving a brain scan and appointment with an expert, was filed this month and denied by Goodman.

William Fleischaker, Paschallís attorney, said the judge ruled the defense should seek a brain scan and second opinion from an expert in Missouri and set a hearing in September to review opinion.

A jury of 10 women and two men convicted Paschall in September 2017. Special prosecutor Steven Kretzer brought up how Townsend, still alive when authorities arrived, named Paschall when asked who shot him and his granddaughter.

The forensic pathologist, Dr. Keith Norton, said Brace had gunshot wounds to the back left of the head, right side of her chest and left shoulder. The bullet in her head cut her spinal cord, which Norton said would have caused an immediate collapse.

A bullet that struck Townsend went through his brain, shattered his right eye, then traveled through his windpipe and voicebox, eventually found in his lung. Townsend also had wounds on his chest, shoulder, right elbow and right forearm. Three bullets were found, but a precise determination on the number of times he was shot could not be made.

Witnesses said Paschallís vehicle, a blue Nissan, was seen in the area on the day of the shootings in Exeter and in Cassville.

Crime scene photos were also shown, and Kretzer made a point to show a child was in the home, pointing out an oatmeal pie with a missing bite found on a childís desk in the living room.

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