Arkansas Crime

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr leaving the Arkansas Ethics Commission hearing in December.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas attorney general's office says it expects former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to reimburse the state nearly $11,000 for improper expenses "very soon." Darr owes the state $10,973 in improper expenses, which auditors recommended in April that he pay for misspending taxpayer funds.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that on top of that required payment, Darr also was fined $11,000 over ethics violations tied to his office and campaign spending. He resigned in February.

Authorities are continuing to search for an inmate who escaped from custody as he was being taken to a hearing at the Pulaski County courthouse.

Authorities say 30-year-old Anael Castro-Hernandez slipped out of handcuffs and ran away as a jail transport van was being unloaded outside of the county courthouse Monday morning. Castro-Hernandez evaded capture Monday and authorities say he is still missing.

Jonesboro's police chief has resigned three days after being suspended without pay because of derogatory statements he made on Facebook about a reporter.

Michael Yates submitted a letter of resignation Monday to Mayor Harold Perrin, saying he carefully considered his position and decided "the present circumstances dictate that I must resign my position."

Yates wrote that he allowed "anger and pride override" his judgment and wisdom and said things that are not acceptable. The resignation is effective Monday.

Jonesboro's police chief is to serve a 30-day suspension and issue written apologies to The Jonesboro Sun and a former reporter at the paper for derogatory comments he made on Facebook.

Mayor Harold Perrin announced Friday that Chief Michael Yates would be suspended without pay and has to undergo additional training. Perrin also instructed the city attorney to review the police department's policies on releasing public information and to correct any deficiencies.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

State lawmakers are looking into problems with 911 systems across Arkansas. On Thursday, a legislative committee reviewed technological and staffing discrepancies between county systems.

State Senator Missy Irvin from Mountian View said some 911 call centers are run by police or fire departments. Others are run by volunteers that can’t consistently track the locations of incoming callers.

Nate Steel (D-Nashville) in 2013 Regular Session
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Democratic nominee for attorney general Nate Steel unveiled Thursday what will be his legislative agenda if elected to the office. Steel’s package would eliminate parole for sex offenders, increase child-support collections through prison earnings and tax refunds, and expand drug courts and alternative sentencing for juveniles among other proposals.

The state representative from southwest Arkansas said it’s critical for the attorney general to present a plan to the part-time legislature.

The publisher of the Jonesboro Sun wants the city police chief to quit, saying the chief bullied one of the newspaper's reporters into quitting by making derogatory statements about her on Facebook.

In a story published Tuesday, Sun Publisher David Mosesso said Chief Michael Yates had maligned Sunshine Crump's character and was interfering with the Sun's ability to conduct its business.

Yates did not return a call from The Associated Press, but told the newspaper he was exercising his free speech rights.

Democratic Attorney General Nominee State Rep. Nate Steel (Nashville)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Democratic nominee for Arkansas attorney general Nate Steel took steps to distinguish himself from his Republican opponent Tuesday at the Political Animals Club in Little Rock. Steel said unlike his closest competitor Leslie Rutledge he will not focus on lawsuits against the EPA and federal government but instead on issues related to crime.

The Sebastian County Sheriff's Office has released the name of a deputy who shot and killed a man in Fort Smith.

Authorities said Monday that deputy Joshua Heidelberg shot 23-year-old Justin Higgins on Saturday after Higgins had earlier exchanged gunfire with Fort Smith police and as Higgins attempted to carjack the deputy's vehicle.

A man charged in three Arkadelphia slayings has been sentenced to four life sentences after pleading guilty.

21-year-old Riakos Lizana pleaded guilty on Friday to three counts of capital murder and one count of residential burglary.

Lizana admitted to killing 40-year-old Bobby Jean Galbraith and his stepdaughters, 4-year-old Marley Crutchfield and 6-year-old Adiele Crutchfield.