Murder Charges Filed in Sunday's Chase Fatal

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller escorts Robert Huffines to court Tuesday morning in Piggott. Also pictured is Lea Mamino, (left) who is also charged in connection with Sunday morning's fatal accident in Rector.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

A Piggott woman was killed during a police chase Sunday, Oct. 2, as her vehicle collided with one driven by a Clay County sheriff's deputy at an intersection in Rector. Sadine Dixon, 84, was dead at the scene of the tragic mishap, while Dep. Terry Burdin was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The subjects who were being chased by the authorities appeared Tuesday in Clay County Circuit Court in Piggott, facing murder charges in connection with the death.

According to reports from the Arkansas State Police, and information provided by Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller, the chase began around mid-morning in Kennett as officers attempted to stop a vehicle reported stolen from Collinsville, Ill.

The heavily-damaged Dixon vehicle is removed from the scene of Sunday morning's fatal crash in Rector.(TD photo/Ron Kemp)

ASP reports indicated the pursuit continued from Kennett to Campbell, then across the state line at St. Francis. Miller noted the suspects then led authorities onto rural roads northwest of the town. A short time later the chase continued back onto Highway 62 west, with the suspect vehicle turning south on Highway 139 just east of Piggott. At Holly Island the suspects turned west, and continued toward Rector on U.S. 49 at Hargrave Corner.

According to reports, at 10:35 a.m. Dep. Burdin spotted the suspect vehicle and joined the chase near Rector. As the deputy pursued the suspects through the city, his vehicle collided with one being driven by Dixon near the Pine Street rail crossing on West Ninth Street.

The accident report from the ASP indicated Dixon was southbound, and had pulled to the right shoulder of the highway as the subjects approached. She then apparently pulled back onto the roadway, into the path of Burdin's vehicle. Due to the impact, Dixon's vehicle overturned in the ditch between the highway and railroad, and she was ejected. A short time later she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dep. Burdin also serves as the CCSD K-9 officer, and Sheriff Miller said Marko was in his box in the back of the vehicle at the time of the crash and escaped with what were believed to be only minor injuries.

ASP and local law enforcement continued to pursue the vehicle to Paragould, as the suspects eluded them along several city streets. The chase ended at 11:01 a.m. as the suspects crashed into a concrete retaining wall outside the Walgreens store at the corner of U.S. Highways 49 and 412.

The Arkansas State Police identified the driver as Robert Huffines, 36, of Holcomb, Mo., while the passenger was identified as Lea Mamino, 32, of Collinsville, Ill. Both were taken into custody at the time and transported to the Greene County Jail.

On Tuesday morning both Huffines and Mamino appeared for a probable cause hearing in Clay County Circuit Court in Piggott, before Judge Dan Ritchey. According to the complaint, read by Dep. Pros. Atty. Mike Trail, the two are both charged with fleeing and eluding, theft by receiving, possession of drug paraphernalia for the consumption of methamphetime and other traffic offenses related to the chase. Both are also charged with first degree murder, in connection with the death of Dixon.

The complaint further noted the suspects operated the stolen vehicle at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour, and both were "highly intoxicated" when arrested. According to Miller, toxicology tests were made although the results were not currently available.

Judge Ritchey ordered both Huffines and Mamino held in lieu of $500,000 cash bond pending their next court appearance. According to Trail, they'll next appear in Circuit Court in Piggott on Jan. 10.

During the proceedings, local public defender C.W. Knauts asked the judge to excuse him from representing the defendants, citing a long-time relationship with the victim and her family. In turn, Ritchey noted he would refer the case to the public defender's office without naming a specific attorney to represent the defendants.

Miller indicated Dep. Burdin will remain on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation by the Arkansas State Police, and being cleared by a doctor to return to work.

Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Dixon are now complete, with services set for Friday. The complete obituary may be found in that section of this website.

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