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Federal judge brings closure to Pine Bluff pawn shop murder case, suspects receive life sentences

Pine Bluff, Arkansas – Following the tragic incident that led to the untimely demise of a Pine Bluff pawn shop owner, a federal court has sentenced the two perpetrators to spend their remaining lives in prison.

United States District Judge James M. Moody Jr., on Tuesday, handed life sentences to Daryl Strickland Jr., 26, and Rodney Henry, 25. Both hailing from Camden, the men were implicated in the violent crime, which resulted in murder and had significant repercussions on the local community.

Strickland and Henry confessed to using a firearm to commit a violent crime that ultimately led to the murder of Brandon McHan, the proprietor of Wise Buck Pawn Shop in Pine Bluff. In the course of the same incident, another employee, Jason Booth, suffered grave injuries after being shot in the face.

The duo continued their crime spree by robbing a gas station, threatening the cashier with a gun merely an hour after the first incident.

The investigation findings, corroborated by the culprits’ own admissions, indicated that the fatal event occurred on the evening of November 12, 2018. At approximately 5:22 p.m., Strickland and Henry approached the pawn shop and queried about its operating hours. After being informed by McHan, through the locked front door, that the establishment had closed for the day, they seemed to leave the vicinity. Subsequently, when McHan and Booth were locking up the store, Strickland and Henry forced their entry.

Upon gaining access, Strickland discharged his firearm, injuring both the employees. Even though the assailants momentarily left the premises, they returned soon, initiating another round of gunfire. McHan and Booth’s attempt to counter the attack was met with further gunshots from Strickland and Henry before they finally fled the scene.

The Pine Bluff Police Department responded promptly to the shooting at Wise Buck Pawn Shop. McHan and Booth were rushed to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, where McHan succumbed to his injuries, including three gunshot wounds. Booth, who was shot in the face, was able to survive the ordeal.

The pair continued their lawless actions when, approximately an hour later, they held up the clerk at an Alon gas station in Pine Bluff. While Henry forcefully emptied the cash register, Strickland kept the clerk at gunpoint. Apart from making off with $800, Henry also took the clerk’s firearm.

On December 4, 2018, Strickland and Henry were apprehended and charged in connection with these two incidents. Subsequently, on October 3, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted them on multiple charges including robbery, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, and murder.

Strickland entered his guilty plea on August 19, 2022, to a superseding information, charging both him and Henry with discharging a firearm during a violent crime that resulted in death. Henry, likewise, pleaded guilty to the same charge on September 27, 2022.

The case was handled meticulously by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Pine Bluff Police Department, with Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin H. Bryant and Benecia Moore representing the United States in the prosecution.

Olivia Martinez

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