Two Southeast Arkansas men escaped possible death sentences when they pleaded guilty to murder in separate, unrelated domestic murder cases.

Marquis Ontrell Poole

In an eleventh hour plea deal on the steps of the Desha County Courthouse Tuesday, after the jury was empaneled, Marquis Ontrell Poole’s defense attorney Steven Porch and 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen reached a plea agreement in which the 27-year-old Dumas man would plead guilty to first-degree murder in the November 2011 shooting death of his 25-year-old girlfriend Amanda Madden.

In the plea agreement, Poole, who was charged with capital murder and faced a possible death sentence, was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

Poole shot Madden three times with a revolver in the kitchen of her mother’s Dumas apartment. Madden’s 6-year-old child was in the room where the shooting occurred.

Madden’s mother, who was in the living room when the shooting occurred, told police she heard three gun shots then rushed to the kitchen where she saw her daughter lying on the floor.

“You shot my baby!” Madden’s mother said to Poole, according to a Dumas police officer’s testimony at Poole’s first appearance hearing in November 2011.

The officer said Madden’s mother told him that Poole responded, “(F_ _ _), your daughter.”

Poole was sentenced to 40 years in prison with a 20-year enhancement for killing Madden in the presence of her 6-year-old child. He also received a 10-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentences will run consecutive, giving him a 70-year prison sentence. He will not be eligible for parole until July 7, 2053.

Robert C. Carter, Jr.

In a separate, unrelated murder, a 24-year-old Lake Village man pleaded guilty on November 9 to two counts of capital murder for the deaths of his two children and one count of attempted capital murder for the attempted murder of their mother, his former girlfriend.

Robert C. Carter, Jr. received two life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murder of 18-month-old Amoni Elasia Carter and 4-year-old Nekole Carter. He received a life sentence for the attempted murder of the children’s 25-year-old mother, Latasha Figures.

Carter was arrested in April 2011 after he drove a vehicle into the yard of a Dermott residence on Iowa Street where Latasha Figures, Carter’s former girlfriend, and their two children lived.

As Carter drove into the yard on April 17, 2011, he struck and killed 18-month-old Amoni Elasia Carter and critically injured 4-year-old Indeya Nekole Carter, who later died at a Little Rock hospital. Figures, 25, was also injured.