Jaquon Beasley is charged with capital murder on allegations he killed 20-year-old Jasmine Sheppard, a student at UALR.
Beasley did not appear in court Monday after his public defender requested his appearance be waived, so the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Meantime, the prosecutor calls this alleged crime "heinous" and the victim's friends are in shock.
"I just can't believe that this has happened to her," says Jelisa Williams.
There's not much left of Sheppard's car (see pictures on right). It's charred and gutted. It's where police say she lived her last moments. The 2010 Toyota Corolla now sits at a Little Rock impound lot.
Williams is her lifelong friend and calls it an unthinkable crime. She explains, "I'm just speechless. You never think that something like that would happen to someone that is so close to you and in reality it has."
The alleged crime happened on Saturday night in a West Little Rock parking lot. According to detectives, Beasley planned it out in the three weeks since they broke up. He's allegedly confessed to police.
Police say Sheppard was found in the driver's seat and that they believe she was still alive when the car was set on fire.
B.K. Simmons is one of Sheppard's best friends and says she never mentioned she'd dated Beasley. He adds, "Jasmine was just amazing. Sweetheart, the ultimate sweetheart."
As for her family, they tell police she wanted nothing to do with Beasley but that he never showed signs any signs of violence. In fact, until now, his criminal record was clean.
Simmons says, "There is no excuse for what he did. I don't see anything that Jasmine being the person that she was would do something to make someone that angry."
Sheppard was a junior broadcast journalism student at UALR. She'd recently won a $4,000 scholarship from the Arkansas Broadcaster's Association.
Mass Communications Director Jamie Byrne says, "I think she could have been an incredible asset to the industry. You know in our business, so we've all lost, because we're never going to see that light shine."
Police say Beasley and Sheppard met at a work, a Little Rock home improvement store.
Source: Today's THV & Associated Press