North Little Rock, Arkansas — Officials with the North Little Rock School District are not releasing a comment at this time, saying they’re focusing on the students at East Campus where Joy Owens taught. Owens had only been with the school since classes started in August, but left a lasting impression.
As kids got ready to go home, many are shook up after learning police found their English teacher, 24-year-old Joy Owens dead in her apartment Tuesday at 4:30 in the morning.
Alyiah Joseph is a ninth-grader and had Owens as a teacher. She says, “I was shocked she is so quiet and she seemed very innocent.”
Joseph says counselors are talking to students, but it’s a lot to deal with. “Ms. Owens was a very nice lady, always wore a smile. We always had fun and she made sure we understood everything clearly,” Joseph adds.
Sgt. Terry Kuykendall says, “It’s a tragedy, it’s a tragedy for her family, his family, the whole community.”
Kuykendall explains, “During that interaction with him at the detectives division it was determined he was a convicted felon. Not only was he charged with murder first, he’s also charged with being a felon in possession of a fire arm. The gun was defaced, the serial number was filed off so, he’s charged with being in possession of a defaced fire arm as well.”
Kuykendall says when officers responded to Woodland Apartments, they found Owens lying on the living room floor, already gone.
Jerry Burnett is a 10th-grader. He didn’t have Owens as a teacher, but says she always talked to him in the hall. He says, “She was a really [a] nice teacher and when I found out about it I felt bad for myself, to hear that, it is a real tragedy for me.”
Owens own words on Facebook, perhaps a glimpse of trouble yet to come. It reads, “… Life’s too short to be upset with people…My own life is really messed up right now!”
Russell received medals while in the Army, but left several years ago. In 2008 he received 5-years probation in Clark County for second-degree domestic battery of another girlfriend.
Russell is being held in the Pulaski County Jail. He’ll go before a judge Thursday morning.
Owens was a first-year English teacher at North Little Rock High School’s East Campus. ??The U.S. Army Human Resources Command says Russell was a mechanic stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., and that he enlisted in 2001. The year he left the Army was not available.