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Two Arkansas men sentenced to life following death of drug deal witness

Two Arkansas men were sentenced to life in prison following the shooting death of Susan Cooper during a drug deal.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two Arkansas drug dealers were sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after the pair was found guilty of 'conspiring to cause witness tampering resulting in death.'

The two men, 38-year-old Samuel Sherman and 38-year-old Donald Bill Smith, received their life sentences from a U.S. Chief District judge, where the two will not be eligible for parole.

According to reports, the two men faced indictments back in September of 2019, as the pair was connected to the death of Susan Cooper.

Cooper, who had recently began working as a law enforcement informant, reportedly bought meth from Sherman.  

The connection between Cooper and Sherman spans back to September of 2016, as Sherman faced a 'significant' prison sentence. 

Evidence was reportedly collected that showed after learning of his potential sentence, Sherman contacted Smith who had sold drugs to Cooper's sister-in-law, Rachael.

During the investigation, cellular data from Smith and Sherman was collected. The data showed that Smith traveled to Batesville, where Sherman lived, staying there for roughly 40 minutes. 

From there, the two headed towards Malvern, calling Rachael Cooper along the way. According to reports, Rachael had been trying to convince Susan Cooper to trade 'hydrocodone pills for methamphetamine.'

That same night, Rachael picked up Susan, who was unaware that they were making a drug deal with Smith, and headed for the trade.

According to Rachael, Susan was shot during the drug exchange. She said that she heard a gunshot, with Susan immediately yelling out "I’m shot—get me out of here!”

Rachael reportedly hopped into their vehicle and attempted to speed away. Smith was able to pull Susan from the vehicle before the two could leave the scene, shooting Susan several more times.

According to reports, Susan's body was undiscovered for roughly a year and a half later, with Smith being charged for murder in July 2018.

During Smith's conviction, a witness stepped forward and alleged that Smith forced him to help bury Susan's body. That same witness took authorities to the location of the body.

Following the discovery of Susan's body, a jury found Smith and Sherman guilty of 'conspiracy to cause witness tampering resulting in death.'

Smith also faces charges related to the death of a witness, drug distribution, and firearm possession. 

Along with his life sentence, Smith received an additional 50-year consecutive sentence.

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