Week in Review 1-28 to 2-3

Kirby-Snow found guilty in child abuse case, sentenced to 26 years

After about four and a half hours of deliberation, a Baxter County Circuit Court jury returned a guilty verdict Thursday on two of three charges in the trial against Alyssia Kirby-Snow of Mountain Home. Kirby-Snow was found guilty of permitting child abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor after her son, Alyas, was found to have serious injuries. Kirby-Snow was found not guilty of a third charge, battery in the first degree.

Kirby-Snow received a 26-year prison sentence on the two charges, 20 for permitting child abuse and six for endangering the welfare of a minor, the maximum allowed. She was also ordered to pay a fine of $13,000.

Before sentencing was formally imposed, Judge Gordon Webb asked Kirby-Snow if she had anything to say. Choking back tears, she said, "Everyone blames me for not taking Alyas to the hospital sooner. If I could go back and change things, I would."

At the conclusion of the state's case, Ben Gibson of Yellville, who represents Alyssia Kirby-Snow, moved for a directed verdict of acquittal, but Judge Gordon Webb denied the motion which paved the way for the case to go to the jury.

In closing arguments Gibson pointed the finger of blame more or less directly at Jonathan Snow, referring to him as a "sociopath." He told the jury Alyssia Kirby-Snow had trusted Jonathan Snow with the care of the infant at times and that she had "trusted the wrong person."

He said if there is any other reasonable explanation for what happened to the baby then the jury had the obligation to not convict her.

Fourteenth Judicial District Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kerry Chism countered saying a mother is supposed to take up for her child and in this case it wasn't done.

Kirby-Snow has maintained her innocence.

In his opening statement to the jury, Chism pointed out that, by their own admission, Jonathan Snow and Alyssia Kirby-Snow were the only two people who cared for the baby and that whatever happened to the infant to bring it to the brink of death in a fairly short period of time could be laid at the doorstep of both parents.

Alyas was born to the 31-year-old Kirby-Snow and her now husband, 20-year-old Jonathan Snow. At the time of the child's birth in late January 2016, the couple lived together in an apartment complex along State Highway 201 North. They were later married.

Jonathan Snow was found guilty by a Circuit Court Jury in mid-October last year and sentenced to 41 years in prison in connection with the alleged child abuse. He has filed notice he intends to appeal the conviction. He is currently serving his time in the Delta Regional Unit of the state prison system in Dermott.

The staff at Arkansas Children's Hospital said the infant -- who had been listed in critical conditions while in the Little Rock pediatric hospital -- had lost two pounds since birth, suffered a fracture to the right clavicle, had sustained numerous bruises as well as bleeding and swelling of the brain, and he was suffering seizures. In the opinion of the ACH medical staff, there was no scenario in which a single drop or fall would have resulted in the extensive, widespread injuries the infant suffered.

Several people testified during Wednesday's session, including Dr. Michael Adkins. The physician's testimony was much the same as it was during the Jonathan Snow trial. Dr. Adkins said he had seen Alyas on February 4th, not long after the infant was born. He told the court when he saw the baby on that occasion, he was looking at a "well child." The first visit was in marked contrast to one on February 22nd when Kirby-Snow brought the infant back to Dr. Adkins. The physician said he saw a very sick baby who was having seizures and had extensive bruising on his body. Dr. Adkins said he did not get a good answer from Kirby-Snow as to what had happened to cause the bruising. He said he immediately called for an ambulance and had the baby taken to Baxter Regional Medical Center. Alyas Snow was airlifted to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock after he had a seizure in the BRMC emergency room.

Dr. Adkins said the baby he saw on the February 22nd visit was essentially lifeless. He said there was a "huge difference" between the two February visits. He said only a quick glance at the child convinced him that "the baby was in real trouble." He said in addition to calling an ambulance, he also made a call to the Department of Human Services to report what he had seen.

Chism asked Dr. Adkins if he had any intention of giving the baby back to Alyssia Snow after seeing the baby's condition, and he said he did not.

The jury saw lengthy videos taken by Jonathan Snow with his cellphone as he sat up with Alyas in the early morning hours of February 22nd. Jonathan Snow carries on a monologue with himself regarding the baby's health problems and what might be causing those problems. He is seen frequently taking the baby's temperature, patting the infant's stomach and rubbing his head. The baby has several seizures, which Alyssia Kirby Snow had called "little fits" during the time Jonathan Snow is videotaping him. The infant makes a strange wheezing-like sound, and there is obvious uncontrolled shaking of his arms.

At one point, Jonathan Snow is heard to exclaim he was "freaking out" and did not know what to do.

Alyssia Snow is not seen on the videos. Jonathan Snow says at one point he had attempted to wake her up to come and check the baby, but she was "passed out."

The issue of whether the baby's injuries were inflicted by Jonathan Snow, Alyssia Kirby-Snow or both was argued back and forth throughout the trial. Investigators who worked the case expressed the feeling it was likely both the parents had been responsible. Investigators also testified Jonathan Snow and Alyssia Kirby-Snow said they were the only ones to care for and to be alone with the baby since its birth. Chism told the jury at one point since the couple had admitted they were the only ones to have cared for the baby, whatever happened to the infant to bring it to the brink of death could be laid at the doorstep of both parents.

Alyssia Kirby-Snow has 30 days to appeal.

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Local physician charged with felony, case sealed

A Marion County man, 60-year-old Lee L. Gibson of Flippin, has been charged with the felony offense of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

Fourteenth District Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge confirmed to KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and The Boot news Gibson is a physician, although he is not practicing in the Twin Lakes Area.

In an unusual move, Circuit Judge Gordon Webb has sealed the probable cause affidavit and case information at Ethredge's request.

The Order to Seal Affidavit and Information document indicates the record was sealed on the grounds that if released to the public, it could compromise an ongoing investigation. In addition, the release of said information is sensitive, and it is necessary to withhold this information for a short time to ensure the investigations are not impaired.

Gibson entered a not guilty plea to the felony charge in Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday via Skype from the Marion County Detention Center.

Online information made available Friday morning through the Administrative Office of the Courts indicates the charge was filed Monday. Online Marion County jail records indicate Gibson was taken into custody early Thursday morning by Arkansas State Police. He was released Thursday afternoon after posting at $50,000 cash bond. He is ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

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Local scam involves young girl going door to door

A concerned Flippin citizen has contacted KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and The Boot News saying he was the target of a potential scam. The man says a girl, approximately 10 years of age, came to his Flippin residence soliciting $100 raffle tickets on behalf of Flippin Public Schools and KTLO. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, says the girl showed him some sort of tickets. He thought it odd the raffle tickets were so expensive and that he hadn't heard of any such promotion from Flippin Public Schools or when listening to KTLO.

He politely told the girl he didn't have $100 and asked her, "Where are you from?" She said she was from the next street over which, according to the man, would have been Johnson Street. The girl left. The man says in addition to calling KTLO, he called the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Flippin Public Schools to inquire about the so-called raffle tickets.

Neither KTLO or the agencies the man called were able to confirm any raffle with tickets being sold for $100.

Flippin Elementary School Principal Tracie Luttrell says elementary school age students never sell raffle tickets. Furthermore, Lutrell says it is the school district's policy to have any students going door-to-door for solicitations to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is a current fundraiser being held by older students, with $10 raffle tickets for sale, however KTLO is not affiliated with the event.

Luttrell goes on to say most fundraisers are held at school events, and the public is made aware of them through notes home to parents, social media, advertising, etc. Anyone concerned whether a fundraiser is legitimate is encouraged to call the Flippin Public School's Central Office at 870-453-2270.

The public can be assured KTLO would not be involved in any door-to-door solicitation. Any questions about KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and the Boot's current contests or sales may be directed to 870-425-3101 or by viewing our website ktlo.com for information.

Flippin Police Chief Henry Campfield says this type of scam is not often seen. He says such an offense is considered fraud and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Although not common in the Twin Lakes Area, one of the latest scams, closer to home, involving fake raffle tickets was reported in May 2016 when a couple from Alablama was wanted in West Plains in connection with selling tickets for a University of Missouri quilt to benefit a teacher with cancer.

A spokesperson from the West Plains Police Depatment says the pair are still on the run.

Those who think they may have been the target of a raffle scam may contact local law enforcement, the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, and/or the Federal Trade Commission.

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Area law enforcement adds life-saving tool to their arsenal

In an effort to stop a deadly disaster before it occurs, officials from Baxter Regional Medical Center presented local law enforcement with a new life-saving tool to add to their arsenal Thursday. Both city and county police vehicles will now have Narcan kits to use in case of an opioid-related emergency. Narcan is a prescription nasal spray for treating possible opioid overdoses. It can also be used in situations where law enforcement personnel incidentally come into contact with an opiate.

BRMC officials presented 75 kits to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery and Mountain Home Police Chief Carry Manuel. BRMC Pharmacy Director Elizabeth Smith helped coordinate the effort to legally obtain the kits. She says the next step is law enforcement training, along with ongoing support. The plan is to be able to administer Narcan to opioid overdose patients as well.

Officers in the Twin Lakes Area have not yet had a situation where they have come into contact with a dangerous opioid. Fourteenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge, who spearheaded the effort, says he wanted to make sure they are prepared.

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On September 22nd, 2016 the United States Drug Enforcement Administration issued a law enforcement and public warning about the synthetic opioid Carfentanil. The drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than Fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin.

The warning says two New Jersey detectives were recently exposed to a very small amount of Fentanyl and one says he thought he was going to die. He says it felt like his body was shutting down.

The detective urged police to skip testing on the scene. Montgomery says officers have to take extreme precautions if field testing is necessary.

At a cost of $16,000 for the 75 kits, Manuel says that's a small price to pay if it helps to save just one life.

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Harrison long-term planning includes possible new Highway 65 bypass

The Harrison Planning Commission will hold a public hearing in February regarding long-term planning, taking into consideration the chance of a Highway 65 bypass around the city.

The Harrison Daily Times reports the commission met Tuesday and reviewed proposed changes to the city’s Zoning Code, Land Development Regulations and Master Street Plan, which have been in the works for months.

Mayor Dan Sherrell said parts of the Master Street Plan depend a lot on the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s plan for a bypass of the city.

Harrison Public Works Director Wade Phillips said there are plans for the bypass on the northern side of the city. He said it would mean a significant drop in traffic “should it happen.”

Commissioner Pat Brown asked if ArDOT had considered a bypass south of the city.

Phillips said there is a general plan, and there is no real preference for ArDOT. Commission chairman Mike Norton said it was his understanding the southern route would cut through an Indian burial ground, which would complicate matters.

Phillips said it could be a decade before ArDOT even moved to obtain rights of way, although he said it could be sooner. Norton added that ArDOT seems to prioritize projects annually.

Phillips said there is a large push for a Highway 412 corridor across the northern part of the state. Should the group behind that move gain more political muscle, it could bring federal money into play and things could change.

Baxter County resident Gilbert Losurdo is serving as managing director of the North Arkansas East West Corridor Association. The group is pushing for continued improvements to the Highway 412 corridor.

The Harrison Planning Commision plans to publish the draft of proposed changes to its Zoning Code, Land Development Regulations and Master Street Plan on the city’s website at cityofharrison.com - and give the public a chance to review them.

A public hearing will be held on the evening of February 15th at 6:00 at Harrison City Hall for people to make comments or ask questions.

Those plans would then go before the Harrison City Council for adoption.


   

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