Thursday, May 28, 2009

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part XXV): Woman sentenced to 25 years for killing husband in domestic dispute

The big news on the crime front in the May 14, 2009, issue of the Newton County Times regards the plea bargain and sentencing of a 34-year-old woman who shot and killed her husband. Read the initial coverage of the matter here. The woman, of rural Yardelle (not even a Census Designated Place), told police that she and her husband had been arguing most of the day, and drinking at a neighbor's house. The argument escalated when they got home, and she eventually "retrieve[d] a shot gun from behind couch where she was sitting, which she told police she had done 'several times before' when they had argued." The husband reportedly laughed and told her to "go ahead and pull the trigger," which she did. She says she did not know the gun was loaded.

This week's news report indicates that the woman, who was initially charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, for which she was sentenced to 10 years. She was also initially charged with a "felony with firearm" sentence enhancement, which was not amended by the prosecution and thereby adds an additional 15 years to her total sentence, which will be served in the Arkansas Dept. of Corrections. The story does not indicate when she will be eligible for parole, nor does it indicate (of course) who will care for the couple's minor children. It's difficult to assess the appropriateness of this sentence without knowing more, but it strikes me as rather harsh under the circumstances reported.

In other front-page crime news, the paper reports that the county jail is still operating "pending action to close it by the state attorney general." Read more here. In April, 64 "inmate days" cost $386 for meals. The Sheriff's report also indicates that the office investigated 8 felony cases and 31 misdemeanors in April. The total miles patrolled were 12,760.

Another front-page story reports that the Arkansas State Police are joining with other law enforcement agencies to "buckle down on motorists not buckling up." The story indicates that the effort "is being supported by an $8 million national paid advertising campaign." It does not indicate the fine amount or other penalty for not wearing a seatbelt.


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CalGal said...

My mind has been where hers was. That's why we don't keep guns. I'm surprised she was found guilty. Just kidding.

For a reality check, see LA Times article on the "guns welcome" service at the church in KY. That's a pip.

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