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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Altercation in local pub leads to arrest of 41-year-old suspect for attack on 75-year-old patron




A local real estate agent and businessman faces a February 22 hearing in Sebastian County Circuit Court on a Class D Felony Battery in the Second Degree with Serious Injury charge stemming from an altercation at a local bar with a 75-year-old man in December.


Ryan KeithJohnson, 41, of Van Buren had a preliminary hearing on Thursday and entered a not guilty plea to the charge that resulted from a December 29, 2023 incident at Ava's Pub in Fianna.


 According to booking information from the Sebastian County Detention Center, Johnson was booked into the SCADC on February 2 and remained jailed for approximately three hours before being released on a $2,500 legally sufficient bond.


The narrative from the Fort Smith Police Department incident report said an officer was dispatched to the emergency room at Baptist Health on December 29, 2023. The victim, 75-year-old Hal Davis, told officers he had stopped at the watering hole to have a drink before he went home after having dinner with his oldest daughter.


Davis said he was setting at the bar and called a friend on his cell phone Davis stated he was connected by Bluetooth on his phone and he couldn't hear anything very well because of the noise in the bar. He said as he was talking to a friend a man that he did not know came up to the bar and was "standing there staring at him". 


He said the man tried to start a conversation but that he could not hear because of the conversation with his friend and noise coming from a lady singing in the background.


The man, identified as johnson, then struck Davis with two blows to his head causing a busted lip and swelling to his forehead and the left side of his head.


Davis stated that Johnson was made to leave the bar by the bartender. He said that he then went home and tried to deal with his injuries, but the bleeding wouldn't stop so he went to the emergency room.


According to the police report the bartender identified the subject to as being Johnson.


The report was passed on to the Prosecutor's office who initiated the arrest of Johnson.


Johnson is not only a real estate agent for a local realty firm but he also owns a gutter an insulation firm and is a former firefighter for Van Buren, according to sources.









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