Arkansas Crime

prison jail department of correction
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new study on how and when states put criminals in prison shows Arkansas falling in the middle for severity of punishment, with a ranking of 20th nationwide.

Yet PEW Charitable Trusts Director Adam Gelb said that’s based on 2013 data, before the Arkansas Board of Correction changed parole rules that sent thousands of newly released inmates back into prisons.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Wednesday that the FBI agreed to the request from his office.

The trial for 18-year-old Hunter Drexler was delayed Tuesday so prosecutors could ask for help. He's accused in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. 

15-year-old Justin Staton also is charged in the shootings. The Conway couple had raised Staton as their grandson. 

An Arkansas man convicted in a drug conspiracy in 2004 is among 61 inmates who have had their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama.

Wednesday's action comes amid the president's attempt to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system.

A former Arkansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleaded guilty to the circuit court charges Tuesday.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a federal prison term of one year and one day that Pennington received late last year after pleading guilty to using money from his campaign account to pay for personal items and expenses.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

A judge has postponed the trial of a teenager charged in the shooting deaths of an Arkansas couple so prosecutors can ask the FBI to help access an iPod and iPhone to search for evidence.

The trial of 18-year-old Hunter Drexler for his role in the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell was moved from next week to June 27. Drexler is charged with capital murder.

Deputy Prosecutor Hugh Finkelstein said Tuesday that the Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and Conway Police would reach out to the FBI to ask for help.

Hot Spring County prosecutors are relying on forensic technology and art to solve a case that's gone cold for nearly a quarter-century.

The Malvern Daily Record reports that in 1991, skeletal remains of an unidentified black man were found near Interstate 30 in Malvern. An autopsy found no signs of gunshots, stab wounds or blunt trauma, but couldn't determine the cause of death.

Jack Gillean
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The state Supreme Court has accepted the surrendered law license of the former chief of staff for the University of Central Arkansas who was convicted on burglary charges for helping a student steal tests.

Justices on Thursday granted Jack Gillean's motion to give up his license in lieu of probable disbarment proceedings. Gillean asked to surrender his license last month because he was convicted of a felony.

William Asa Hutchinson III
Washington County Sheriff's Office

The son of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has pleaded not guilty to a drunken driving charge.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that 40-year-old William Asa Hutchinson III of Rogers pleaded not guilty Monday in Fayetteville District Court. He also faces charges of careless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test.

State Police say the governor's son was arrested Jan. 24 on Interstate 49 in Fayetteville by a trooper who responded to a single-vehicle crash and found the younger Hutchinson uninjured in the vehicle.

The next court hearing for a Searcy man accused of killing his 2-year-old son in 2014 has been delayed after his defense attorney requested a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

The Daily Citizen reports that Jeffery Clifton's next pretrial hearing had been scheduled for Monday, but all court appearances and motion requests have been put on hold due to defense attorney Ronald L. Davis' request.

Prosecutor Becky McCoy says it could be months before Clifton's next court appearance.

Hilda Daves
Clark Co. Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas grandmother has been arrested on preliminary charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and battery for the death of her 5-year-old granddaughter and injury to another grandchild.

Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson said in a statement that deputies and Arkansas State Police arrested the 49-year-old Amity woman Tuesday.

Watson says deputies received a 911 call on Jan. 17 saying the woman's two grandchildren had possibly been poisoned and one was being taken to a hospital.

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