Log in

Charge filed in 20-year-old Fulton Co. murder case


Fulton County Sheriff Jake Smith has announced an arrest and a first-degree murder charge filed in connection with a homicide that happened almost 20 years ago in Salem, Ark. The case is reportedly the result of work by Fulton County Detective Dale Weaver that began about a year ago.

During a second interview of suspect Dennis Kingston, 65, held Feb. 23, Kingston reportedly confessed to the shooting death of David Stone on Aug. 25, 2004, at the home Leon King, Jr., a friend of Stone’s, off of Whippoorwill Road.

King had been in an ongoing dispute with brothers Darrell and David Burch, including an allegation by Darrell Burch that he and King had gotten into a fight in December 2003. In that allegation, King had threatened Darrell Burch with a gun and struck him with a vehicle. Another allegation included is a May 2004 altercation resulting in David Burch being assaulted by King to the point he was treated for injuries at Fulton County Hospital in Salem.

Assault and battery charges were filed against King, but he was found not guilty on the day of the shooting, though he was ordered to pay $200 towards David Burch's medical bills. David Burch was reported to have been upset with the verdict and made some threats toward King.

That evening, at about 10:30 p.m., emergency medical personnel responded to King's home for a call about a shooting incident. Stone was found to have a gunshot wound to the torso. He was flown to St. John's Medical Center (now Mercy Hospital) in Springfield, where he died early the next morning.

An autopsy showed the bullet entered from the front and traveled downward, and had been fired from a distance. A bullet was recovered and an investigative interview with King revealed he and Stone had just finished eating and were cleaning up when he heard a "pop," and wondered what it was.

Stone then told him he had been shot and King thought he was joking until he had Stone pull up his shirt to reveal a wound.

King said he saw a hole just above Stone's stomach about as big around as a thumb, and that Stone's intestines were protruding through it. He said he helped Stone lie down, ran outside to his gate, and yelled, “You son-of-a-bitches, you got the wrong one," suspecting he had been the intended target.

He said he went outside less than a minute after the shooting, didn't hear any vehicles leave the area, and stated the suspect would have had to walk onto his property.

King also told investigators he and Stone were wearing the same colored shirt that day and he had just walked by the window Stone was standing in front of when he was shot.

During investigative interviews with the Burches and others who saw them the day of the shooting and knew about the assaults and the result of the court case, it was discovered that Kingston, a friend of David Burch’s, was very upset about both incidents.

In October 2004, David Burch's daughter Leah reported to law enforcement that the evening her father was assaulted, she overheard Kingston telling Darrell Burch he wanted to kill King that night, but Burch talked him out of it and commented they would "let everything ride" and do it later. There was some further discussion between the two men about how the shooting would occur and who would do it but Leah Burch said it was unclear to her by the conversation, which she overheard from her bedroom, which of the men was to be the shooter and which gun was going to be used.


Witnesses told law enforcement both of the Burch men and Kingston made overt threats toward King, but when Weaver took over the investigation, Kingston was interviewed in late September 2023 and again about a week later in early October.

Both times, Kingston reportedly denied being the shooter or knowing who was, but he allegedly made contradictory statements about which of the Burches may have been the shooter, first implicating David then Darrell while continuing to deny he had any direct involvement in it.

During the October interview, Kingston reportedly told Weaver he was at a property near King's house fishing with Darrell Burch and said the two arrived in Burch's car together, but he walked away from the other man and, soon after, heard a gunshot; he said he was about a quarter-mile away. At the time, he admitted he would have walked through King's property, Weaver stated.

On Feb. 16, Weaver took a statement from Kingston in which he reportedly admitted David Burch had taken him to the property near King's home around dusk the night of the shooting and left him there until it was dark. About 30 to 45 minutes later, Kingston said, he walked to Burch's property a little over a mile away. He added that it took him about 90 minutes because he was walking through brush without any lights, but stopped short of admitting he was the shooter.

On Feb. 23, during his last interview with Weaver, Kingston reportedly admitted he had been dropped off that evening on a road near King's property by David Burch, walked along King's fencerow to a clump of trees, and waited for about 30 minutes before using a .223-caliber rifle to fire at a "shadow" inside the house.

The weapon reportedly belonged to Darrell Burch and had been obtained a couple of days prior to the shooting and hidden by the road until the night it was used. After he fired the weapon, Kingston said he walked to David Burch's house through the woods, hid the gun in an old car parked near Burch's shop and returned it to Darrell Burch the day after the murder. He also reportedly made a statement to Weaver that he intended to shoot King instead of Stone out of anger for the assault on David Burch.

The case is being prosecuted by Fulton County Prosecutor Carl Plumlee.