Week in Review 11-5 to 11-11

Snow files notice of appeal

Jonathan Snow of Mountain Home, who was sentenced to 41 years in prison last month after being found guilty of charges stemming from the infliction of injuries to his then three-week-old infant son, has filed notice that he is appealing the verdict.

A Baxter County Circuit Court jury found Snow guilty of first degree battery and endangering the welfare of a minor.

The infant was born January 27th last year. The 20-year-old Jonathan Snow is the father and the mother is 31-year-old Alyssia Kirby-Snow. At the time of the baby's birth, the couple lived together in an apartment complex along State Highway 201 North. They have since married according to statements made in open court by Alyssia Kirby-Snow.

The mother also faces charges and her case remains active in Circuit Court.

Charges were filed against the Snows as the result of an investigation launched in late February last year when the Mountain Home Police Department received a report from Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock that it was believed the baby -- Alyas Snow -- had suffered serious abuse.

The hospital reported that the infant, who had been listed in critical condition while in the Little Rock pediatric hospital, had lost two pounds since his birth, suffered a fracture to the right clavicle, had sustained numerous bruises as well as bleeding and swelling of the brain, and the infant was suffering seizures.

In the option of the medical team which examined the baby, there is no scenario in which a single drop or fall would result in the infant's extensive, widespread injuries. According to court records, the parents provided nothing but guesses as to how the infant sustained the injuries but the medical team in Little Rock suspected abuse.

Mountain Home physician, Dr. Michael Adkins, testified during the October trial. He became visibly emotional when recounting his contacts with the baby. He said when he had first seen Alyas Snow the baby had been what he termed a "well child". He said, however, that when Alyssia Kirby-Snow brought the baby to his office slightly more than two weeks later, he was essentially looking at a "lifeless" child. Dr. Adkins said the baby had bruises around the head and showed other abnormal symptoms, such as tremors. Dr. Adkins said he immediately called for an ambulance to get the child to the Baxter Regional Medical Center emergency room. The baby was then airlifted to Arkansas Children's after it suffered a seizure in the BRMC emergency room.

Defense attorney, Andrew Bailey, told the jury before they began deliberations that his client was a teenager who did not know what to do when his son began exhibiting signs of seizures and other medical problems. Bailey told the jury, "He was doing what he knew to do and he did a bad job in terms of caring for his son, but this does not make him a criminal".

Bailey said Alyssia Kirby-Snow was the "better candidate" in terms of being the one responsible for the injuries.

One of the most dramatic points in Snow's trial came when Alyas Snow was brought into the courtroom by his foster mother for jurors to see the results of injuries the boy sustained and the handicaps he will live with for the remainder of his life due to those injuries. The foster mother told the court the small boy could not talk, was unable to walk, could only briefly hold his head up and was fed through a tube. He is required to make visits to various clinics at Arkansas Children's Hospital once or twice a month, according to the foster mother.

Snow is being represented by Gary Potts, an attorney in Monticello, in his appeal process

At the current time, Snow is shown as an inmate in the Delta Regional Unit of the State Prison System at Dermott.

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Dispute turns physical over more than a pound of marijuana

A physical altercation over more than a pound of marijuana allegedly transported from California to Bull Shoals in a backpack aboard a Greyhound bus has led to the arrest of a Marion County couple.

According to the probable cause affidavits, 30-year-old Lacey Darnell came to the Bull Shoals Police Station Monday afternoon reporting she had been the victim of a domestic battery at the hands of her boyfriend, 33-year-old Robert Essex, at their home in Bull Shoals.

The investigation revealed the two had argued, with Essex pushing Darnell to the bed, striking and biting her on the right side of the face, and stepping on her leg while wearing work boots. Darnell also said during their scuffle Essex pushed her into a wall heater. Darnell told officers Essex was at their home, and she wanted him arrested.

When officers went to the home to question Essex, they reported observing a small baggie in an open cigar box on the kitchen table in plain view. Inside the baggie was a green, leafy plant type substance believed to be marijuana, along with drug paraphernalia.

As an officer moved into the living room searching for the heater Darnell had referenced, he observed a plastic bag containing more than a pound of the green, leafy plant type substance in plain view directly below the heater. The substance field tested positive for marijuana. The affidavits note other drug paraphernalia was located in the home, along with plant seeds.

Essex allegedly admitted he and Darnell received the cannabis in lieu of payment for work performed on a legal, state permitted farm in northern California. He said the dispute with Darnell originated over the amount of the marijuana she wanted to take.

He said the two had returned from California on Saturday after transporting the marijuana inside Darnell's backpack on a Greyhound bus. Essex said the cannabis was triple vacuum sealed to mask the odor on the bus.

Darnell denied knowledge of transporting the drug from California, saying she assumed Essex packed it in his luggage.

The two were charged with felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance with the purpose to deliver. Essex also faces a misdemeanor count of third degree battery.

Their bonds were set at $20,000 each.

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BC man charged with sexual assault in Newton County facing laundry list of new local charges

A rural Mountain Home man awaiting trial in Newton County on two counts of internet stalking of a child and one count each of sexual assault, possession of drug paraphernalia and residential burglary, all felony offenses, now has a laundry list of new charges in Baxter County.

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery says 31-year-old Christopher Ryan Collins has been arrested and is being charged with numerous crimes in connection with reported break-ins at three separate homes and the theft of cash, credit cards, and other items.

Sheriff Montgomery says his office took a report on September 30th from residents along County Road 782 indicating approximately $13,000 in cash was missing from their home. At the time of the initial report, the cash was the only property believed missing. On November 2nd, the victims were contacted by their credit card company regarding suspicious transactions at numerous locations. It was then realized the victim’s credit card had also been stolen in the burglary. The stolen credit card had been used in seven locations in Mountain Home, one in Flippin, and three in Branson for purchases totaling just under $3,000.

Sheriff’s investigators gathered information from employees at the stores where the stolen card had been used, including sales receipts, descriptions of items purchased, dates and times, and the description of the suspect, as well as video surveillance where available. At one of the locations in Mountain Home, the sales clerk had obtained a telephone number from the suspect who indicated his residence was on County Road 782, directly across the street from the victim’s residence. The photo of the suspect, Collins, was compared with video surveillance footage and found to be the same person.

A search warrant for Collins’ residence was served Wednesday morning. Collins was found inside the residence and taken into custody. Numerous items were found in the home obtained via the stolen credit card. Also found in the residence were a chain saw and a miter saw identified by a previous report as having been stolen from yet another separate home on County Road 782 on October 4th. Along with the stolen property, a number of articles of drug paraphernalia were found and seized.

Collins had also been identified as the suspect in a third case reported on October 25th. He was alleged to have entered a home on Cranfield Road, uninvited, and used a computer while nobody was there. The home belongs to one of Collins’ former employers.

Collins was booked into the Baxter County Detention Center and is being charged with two counts of residential burglary, and breaking or entering, 12 counts each of forgery and fraudulent use of a credit card, along with one count of theft of property. He also faces five counts of misdemeanor offenses.

He is being held in custody in lieu of $45,000 bond and will appear in Baxter County Circuit Court to answer to the charges later this month.

Online information from the Administrative Office of the Courts indicates Collins was to appear before Circuit Judge John Putman before Wednesday to accept or reject the plea offer from the state regarding the Newton County charges before that case goes to jury trial.

The Harrison Daily Times reported in June Newton County authorities were investigating a reported sexual assault of a girl after her aunt went into her room and found a naked man, later identified as Collins, in her bed. The aunt says the man fled out an open window.

A Newton County Sheriff's investigator determined the girl was in contact with Collins on Facebook Messenger and adult-oriented sites chatting and sending pictures online.

Collins had been free after posting a $50,000 bond in connection with the Newton County charges.

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State files forfeiture action against Martin home

The state has filed an action to seize the home of Rebecca Martin which is described in court papers as having been used as a drug premises for nearly two decades.

Martin signed a seizure/forfeiture form which was filed on November 7th. After she is served with papers notifing her of the suit seeking the seizure, she will have 30 days to answer which could lead to a hearing on the matter. In the seizure form, Martin's home is described as being a two-story log house located at the end of a circle driveway.

In electronic records maintained by the Baxter County Assessors Office, the home is listed as being a 1,200 square foot structure.

The 52-year-old Martin is currently free on $30,000 bond and is facing drug-related charges in four active Circuit Court criminal cases.

The active cases against Martin involve a number of drug sales to a confidential informant working with law enforcement, or the finding of drugs and drug paraphernalia as the result of search warrants served at Martin's residence located along County Road 30.

In the probable cause affidavit filed in one case investigators note that "similar incidents of drug behavior involving Martin and her residence have been traced back for approximately 17 years when computer records were first implemented".

Martin has been able to have some cases dismissed due to defective search warrants. She was denied the use of a public defender at one point because of the ownership of the residence now subject to the seizure action.

The home loan was apparently paid off with the proceeds of lottery winnings. In a 2014 drug case, it was reported Martin had won $200,000 in the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. At the time, lottery officials were quoted as saying Martin intended to pay off her home loan with some of the money and save the rest.

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Federal sentences handed down in meth trafficking

Sentences for 17 individuals arrested for methamphetamine-trafficking related crimes in the Harrison area have been handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice in the Western District of Arkansas.

According to court records, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the State of Arkansas 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force began investigating the drug trafficking organization of a Springdale man from April through October of 2016, seizing 1,770 grams of methamphetamine from the organization on September 7, 2016. The vast majority of the defendants were arrested during a multi-jurisdiction operation occurring on October 27, 2016.

Among those arrested was 54-year-old Edward "Eddie" Hugh Wade, Jr. of Yellville. Wade was sentenced earlier this month to 96 months in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release on two counts of use of a communication facility to distribute methamphetamine.

Also arrested was 41-year-old Paul Gerald Stewart of Marshall. Stewart was sentenced November 2nd to 70 months in federal prison, followed by one year of supervised release on two counts of use of a communication facility to distribute methamphetamine.

Two individuals from St. Joe in Searcy County were among the 17. One of the two, 63-year-old      Patricia Gayle Lewis-Zubkin was sentenced October 31st to 240 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release on one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The second individual from St. Joe, 43-year-old Jason Lee Lewis, was sentenced October 31st to 151 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release on one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The Honorable Chief Judge P.K. Holmes, III presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the 14th Judicial Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Arkansas State Police, the Boone County Sheriff, the Newton County Sheriff, the Searcy County Sheriff, the Baxter County Sheriff, the Harrison Police Department, Eureka Springs Police Department, and the Arkansas National Guard. Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Carter is prosecuting the case for the Western District of Arkansas.

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Death of Mountain Home woman under investigation

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the unattended death of a rural Mountain Home woman, 49-year-old Tamara Sue Sexton, occuring Thursday.

At approximately 4:28 PM yesterday, the Sheriff’s Office was notified of a tractor accident at 559 Drake Lane with a victim injured. When emergency responders arrived they discovered Sexton, lying in an open field, and began emergency medical procedures. A Kubota L3830 tractor with a brush hog attachment was approximately 75 feet from the victim.

The caller told Sheriff’s Investigators when he arrived at the address to check on Sexton he found the tractor backed into a tree with the brush hog attachment up against the tree. Sexton had been operating the tractor/brush hog when the caller left the residence earlier. He was not immediately able to locate Sexton, but found her a short time later in the field and called 911. She was transported by ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center but did not survive.

The death is being investigated as an accident.   It is anticipated that the body of the deceased will be sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy to confirm cause and manner of death.

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