BENTON COUNTY, Ark. – An Arkansas woman was convicted by a jury in Benton County of capital murder in the killing of a local police officer in 2021 by smashing into him with a vehicle and then dragging his body about half the length of a football field, according to reports.
Shawna Rhae Cash, 25, was convicted last Thursday, Feb. 8, of killing Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple in 2021 by intentionally running him down with her vehicle and dragging him 149 feet while fleeing from police. As a result of the capital murder conviction, Cash now faces the possibility of death as the penalty phase of her trial begins, Law&Crime reported.
According to prosecutor Joshua Robinson, jurors learned that Cash had a history of fleeing officers, including leading Farmington Police in a high-speed pursuit in 2020, and months later, running from Fayetteville Police, according to KHBS.
“Cash is more experienced with high-speed chases than the officer chasing her,” Robinson declared.
On the morning of June 26, 2021, Oscar Olvera, a Rogers man, testified that his wife spotted a suspect in a blue Jeep steal mail from their mailbox. Olvera got into his car and chased after the Jeep, honking his horn until it pulled into a Walgreens parking lot, reported KHBS.
Olvera testified that Shawna Cash was the driver. Olvera said Cash returned a mailed check to him, yet he felt threatened when Cash’s passenger, Elijah Andazola, 21, reached for something.
Booking photos of Shawna Rhae Cash and Elijah Michael Andazola via Law&Crime.
As a result, Olvera drew a firearm and told Cash and Andazola to get out of the Jeep, while also calling police.
However, as responding police sirens approached, Cash and Andazola re-entered their vehicle and fled.
Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple and another officer located the suspects at a local convenience store.
“Camera footage obtained from the White Oak Gas Station depicts the suspect vehicle parked at the gas pumps when a Pea Ridge Patrol car, driven by Officer [Kevin] Apple, pulled up in front of the suspect vehicle (facing it directly) while another Pea Ridge Patrol car, driven by Officer [Brian] Stamps, pulled up directly behind it,” a redacted affidavit of probable cause for bond outlined.
With his weapon drawn, Apple stood in front of the Jeep and repeatedly yelled, “Don’t do it!” Nevertheless, Cash accelerated.
According to Law&Crime, the following excerpt was taken from court documents:
“The camera footage did not have audio but appeared as though Officer Apple was attempting to verbally engage with Cash and Andazola. Seven seconds after Officer Apple exited his vehicle, Shawna Cash accelerated backwards; slamming into Officer Stamps’ vehicle. It appeared Officer Apple drew his service weapon and approached the front of the suspect vehicle; standing directly in front of it. Approximately three seconds later, Shawna Cash rapidly accelerated straight forward; striking Officer Apple. Officer Apple was carried on the front of the suspect vehicle for several feet until Cash steered slightly to the right; striking the front left-side of Officer Apple’s patrol car, pinning him between the two vehicles. As Cash continued to accelerate, Officer Apple was dragged underneath Cash’s vehicle. The vehicle accelerated out of camera view while still dragging Officer Apple underneath.”
On Oct. 27, 2021, the Pea Ridge Police Department posted a statement to social media that was written by Officer Apple’s mother, Dalene Hart.
“To the Citizens of Pea Ridge and surrounding communities. It is with a full and humble heart that I wish to express my gratitude for the love and support my family and I have received over the last several months since my son, Officer Kevin Apple, was taken from us. As a parent, the void I have felt since Kevin’s passing is unexplainable. I think of and miss Kevin everyday as I know his fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement do. Kevin is gone and nothing can bring him back, however; I still would like to see justice served and I believe in our criminal justice system. The support from the community has been positively overwhelming to say the least. It warms my heart and soul to see all the blue lights on porches and 1212 (Officer Apple’s badge number) signs in yards and on vehicles, not only in Pea Ridge, but in surrounding communities as well. I wanted to write this note to the people of Pea Ridge to publicly thank you from the bottom of my heart for the emotional and financial support you have given me over the past several months. I know Kevin will not ever be forgotten and his memory will live on within law enforcement and the people of the community he loved and served.”
On Dec. 9, 2023, the Pea Ridge Police Department wrote, “Fallen Officer Kevin Apple, Badge #1212, is remembered by many for his great sense of humor and the delight he took in brightening someone’s day. For us, he might be remembered best for his practical jokes and the laughter that followed! Always the prankster. We miss him dearly.”
Officer Apple was a 23-year law enforcement veteran, Law Officer reported following his death in 2021.
The capital murder case against Andazola remains ongoing.