Friday, October 26, 2012

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part XCVIII): Assault, sex offenses adjudicated

The October 24, 2012 issue of the Newton County Times compiles criminal cases recently adjudicated in the county's Circuit Court.  These include:
  • Ira Gentry, age 36, was charged with aggravated assault, a class D felony, battery in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor and second degree assault on a family or household, a class B felony and as a habitual offender following a disturbance at a Western Grove residence in March 2011.  Gentry allegedly brandished a knife at his victims "after punching one of them in the jaw and forehead, [p]unching another person at the scene and then going to the residence next door and punching his girlfriend."  Gentry pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the first degree, a class A misdemeanor.  Other charges were amended and dismissed.  The court sentenced Gentry to a year of probation and fined him $1000 in costs and fees.  He is required to attend an anger management program and an outpatient drug program. 
  • Lee Hankins, 41, was charged with sexual assault in the second degree, a class B felony, after he allegedly touched the breasts of an 11-year-old girl and placed her hand on his penis.  Hankins was reportedly a friend of the girl's family.  The prosecutor reduced the original charge to sexual assault in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor.  The sentence imposed was a year of probation and a fine of $1500.  He has been ordered to have no future contact with the victim or her family.
  • Joshua Barbee, 32, was charged with distributing, possession or viewing child pornography, a Class C felony.  In a plea agreement, Barbee agreed to plead no contest, and he was sentenced to four years of probation.  he was also ordered to pay the mandatory sex offender registration fee of $250 and other costs totaling $1325.  
  • Kerry Woods, 47, was charged with non-support for a period starting Oct. 22, 2006 and continuing through August 31, 2010.  He allegedly owed between $2500 and $19,000 for failing to support his son.  In a plea agreement, Woods was sentenced to six years probation and one year to be served in the Regional Correction Facility. He must pay restitution of $7,206.87, as well as other court costs and fees. He is also required to make one monthly payment of $200 which shall be used to satisfy fines and costs in both cases.  This is an interesting financial arrangement because the suggestion is that he will have to pay only $200, but perhaps the reporter meant to write $200/month.  
  • Laura Nadine Sickler, 54, was charged with residential burglary, a class B felony.  She pleaded guilty to criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor, and was credited with 26 days served in jail and placed on a year of probation.  Sickler has agreed to testify against any co-defendants and to have no further contact with the victims of the case.  
In other news, two men were killed in an off-road accident on a Polaris RZR "side-by-side utility vehicle" on Forest Service Road No. 1310 in neighboring Pope County.  

Two hikers, University of Arkansas students, were located by a search party organized by the Sheriff's Office on Oct. 16 and 17.  The students "had been at a concert with friends in Fayetteville, but went to Newton County looking for waterfalls."  Their friends in Fayetteville reported them missing. They were found "tired, hungry, thirsty and a little scratched up," but otherwise "not hurt."  

Ozark Opportunities, Inc., distributed USDA donated foods via the Newton County Health Unit at 5-6 West Court Street.  The foods included UHT milk, mix fruit, potatoes, spaghetti sauce, kidney beans, and rotini pasta. 

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