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Who is Tacori Mackrell? Arkansas kidnapper who choked elderly woman to death with cousin gets life

Mackrell, who was 18 when the murder occurred, claims his initial plan was to steal the woman's car along with his then-16-year-old cousin
UPDATED OCT 15, 2020
Tacori Mackrell, Elvia Fragstein and Robert Smith III (Faulkner County Sherrif)
Tacori Mackrell, Elvia Fragstein and Robert Smith III (Faulkner County Sherrif)

GREENBRIER, ARKANSAS: During day five of his capital murder trial, on October 8, 2020, Tacori Mackrell admitted he kidnapped and killed 72-year-old Elvia Fragstein outside a Conway shopping center in July 2018. Following this, a Faulkner County jury of eight women and four men deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes before sentencing Mackrell and his 18-year-old younger cousin Robert Smith III to life in prison without parole.

20-year-old Tacori Mackrell was found guilty on all charges, including capital murder, in the death of 72-year-old Elvia Fragstein. Mackrell was convicted last week for kidnapping and murdering Fragstein, as the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney showed him a photo of Elvia Fragstein and asked if it was the woman he abducted and killed. To which Mackrell replied saying, "yes." Both cousins are the residents of Pine Bluff, were charged with capital murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and theft of property in the slaying of Fragstein, who officials say died from strangulation and blows to the chest and spine.

Elvia Fragstein, a businesswoman who owned 2 alcohol companies in Colombia was a resident of Greenbrier, Arkansas, who got abducted and killed on July 7, 2018, while she went out shopping.

Who is Tacori Mackrell?

Mackrell, who was 18-years-old at the time when he committed the murder in 2018, claims he had no prior intent to kidnap and choke Fragstein to death. His original plan was to steal her car alongside his then-16-year-old cousin, Robert Smith Jr. When Fragstein refused to give up her car, that's when Mackrell said the attack happened. He called it, "a big mistake." Reports also claimed that he admitted that he was high on PCP (Phencyclidine) and marijuana at the time of the crime. The defense called Dr. Melissa Wright, a psychologist and forensic examiner at the Arkansas State Hospital. Wright diagnosed Mackrell, with cannabis use disorder, PCP use disorder, and conduct disorder, which she described as a pattern of misbehavior that leads to impairment in function. Wright determined Mackrell was fit to stand trial and that he could appreciate the criminality of his conduct, she testified. 

According to a 5 News report, Mackrell's defense attorney said he was "elated" by the jury's decision. "We started this trial wanting one thing and that was life, and that's what we got. We understood the realities of the case, and we wanted to make sure there was no more death in this case," defense attorney Bill James said. 

While closing arguments were going on Wednesday, 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, Carol Crews, asked jurors to sentence Mackrell to death. "We respect the jury's decision," Crews said. "This was an incredibly heinous crime, so it was really our honor to fight for the family in court and fight for this community, and at the end of the day we think justice was done," she said after the decision came.