Saturday, March 12, 2011

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part LXXVI): Woman sentenced to 20 years in boyfriend's death

The March 9, 2011 issue of the Newton County Times leads with the headline, "Guilty plea to murder; 20-year sentence." The story tells of 36-year-old Kerry Breedlove's guilty plea to second-degree murder in the shooting death of her boyfriend, 39-year-old Shannon Price, in December, 2009. I wrote about this crime earlier, here and here. The woman's trial, initially set for December 2010, was continued until this month so that her public defender could find an expert to testify that she "suffered from Battered Women's Syndrome." This news story does not report the results of that effort, only that the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser charge. Breedlove will be eligible for parole in 5 years. Once released, she must begin reimbursing the county for the $5000 it has paid to house her in the Boone County Jail since her arrest. She will also be liable for $200 in court costs. Almost two years ago, another woman, this one aged 34, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing her husband in the heat of a domestic dispute.

In other news, a front-page story reports that two 18-year-old Harrison residents were arrested in a meth house bust in the community of Liberty, in the far northwest part of the county, near the Madison and Carroll County lines. A third person escaped the bust by fleeing on foot, but he has been identified as 38-year-old Richard Dacheff III of Green Forest.

The third big front-page story regards a public meeting about how to raise revenues to better support county functions--particularly the Sheriff's Office, which suffered deep cuts in the 2011 budget recently passed by the Quorum Court, the county's governing body. The Feb. 16, 2011 issue of the paper had reported that the sheriff's office "suffer[ed] the bulk of the effect of a $45,000 reduction in anticipated revenues in 2011." The Sheriff announced then that he would likely have to lay off two of the county's six deputies and that he might not be able to "meet the constitutional requirements of his job," including "following directives from the judicial courts within the county."

A letter to the editor in the March 9 issue suggests that the new Republican county judge (chief administrative officers) and the Quorum Court made deep cuts in the budget of the Sheriff's Office, while maintaining funding levels to the County Clerk and County Assessor, because the Sheriff is an Independent while the other two county officials are Republicans. The author of the letter, R. C. Horn of Western Grove, self-identifies as a Republican but asserts that the Quorum Court should have cut funding to the Assessor and Clerk and let them turn to volunteer help to make ends meet, rather than causing the Sheriff's Office to bear the brunt of the shortfall. I note the contrast with 2008, when the Sheriff's Office, along with the road fund, was the only county department not to be hit with a spending freeze.

1 comment:

eyelift said...

Heart-beating story. In fact, both of those stories are really looking thrilling.