LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Gassville man, 28-year-old Talmadge Beigh Pendergrass, has been convicted for the federal felony offense of Making a False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm in connection with the 2015 double homicide in Midway.
Pendergrass was indicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas on Jan. 11, 2017. The indictment came after an investigation into Pendergrass having made a handgun purchase at the Harps grocery store in Mountain Home around November 2015.
The handgun he purchased was ultimately used by Nicholas Ian Roos in the murder of Donald and LaDonna Rice at their home near Midway.
Evidence developed during the murder investigation found that Roos had gone to Harps with Pendergrass on Nov. 6, 2015. Roos applied to purchase the handgun, but his application was denied following a background check.
Video evidence from the store showed Roos took cash out of a bag and handed it over to Pendergrass, who then applied to purchase the firearm. Pendergrass’ purchase was approved, and he took possession of the firearm. Pendergrass stated on the application form that he was the actual buyer when in fact he acquired the firearm on behalf of another person, which is a violation of the law. Pendergrass turned the gun over to Roos.
While there is no evidence to suggest that Pendergrass had knowledge of Roos’ intent to use the firearm in the murders of Donald and LaDonna Rice, the indictment was still brought against him on the federal weapons charge. The judgment from the United States District Court indicated Pendergrass pled guilty to the charge in May 2017 and was sentenced on October 26 to sixteen months in federal prison. After his sentence, he will be on supervised probation for three years.
Donald and LaDonna Rice were reported missing Nov. 7, 2015, after authorities found their home torched and truck stolen. Baxter County deputies said a motorist flagged down a state trooper about the house fire. The couple was unaccounted for when authorities arrived. A sheriff’s deputy found the couple’s pickup truck burned in a field the next morning. Arkansas State Police joined the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident as possible arson. The couple was later identified by remains found inside the burned home.
Police arrested Nicholas Roos, Zach Grayham and Mikayla Mynk on Nov. 16, 2015, for capital murder, arson, and aggravated robbery.
On Feb. 10, 2016, a judge ruled affidavits that stated why Roos, Grayham and Mynk were charged in the Midway homicides would remain sealed so all three could receive fair trials. All three pled not guilty to capital murder.
Roos was sentenced on May 24. 2016, for capital murder, arson, aggravated robbery and theft. He received a life sentence without parole.
Just months later, Aug. 10, 2016, Mikayla Mynk pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and theft in connection to the deaths. Mynk entered the guilty plea in exchange for the capital murder and arson charges to be dropped. She received 35 years with 15 years suspended for robbery and 20 years for theft.
Grayham was sentenced Aug. 25. 2016, to 25 years for second-degree murder and 20 years for aggravated burglary.