by Karen Sherrell
IZARD COUNTY – Sixteenth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer opened an investigation earlier this year after reviewing alleged discrepancies in the Izard County Judge’s office, as to the handling of equipment purchases and other items, during the term of David Sherrell.
Dennis Simons, Special Agent with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, initiated an investigation into allegations of theft of Izard County property committed by Sherrell, according to the Affidavit for Search Warrant filed June 2. Sherrell was the elected judge for three terms, six years, from 2011 to 2016.
According to Simons, during an interview with an Izard County Road Department employee, he learned of the purchase of tools from a Sharp County auction in 2015, some of which were allegedly taken to Sherrell’s farm. The auction was held by Arkansas State Trooper Darren Bates, according to the affidavit, following the death of his father. Bates confirmed the purchase of the tools by Sherrell, and payment by check from the Izard County Treasurer’s office issued to him in the amount of $3,500. Bates told Simons Sherrell did not provide him with any personal money for the tools.
The tools in question included, in part, a Champion Air Compressor, a Chicago 3/4 pneumatic drive with a full set of sockets, a bench grinder, shop press and other assorted miscellaneous tools to be identified by Bates. Simons visited the county shop and was unable to locate the described tools.
On May 31, Simons, along with Izard County Deputy Gabe Sanders and Trooper Bates, executed a search warrant signed by District Court Judge David Miller, on Sherrell’s property located at 1115 Tri Lakes Road in Oxford. Equipment and tools were seized matching the description of the auction items listed on the search warrant, and identified by Bates.
Property seized was a Chicago pneumatic 3/4 impact wrench, a one inch drive socket, three green gas measuring containers, a Craftsman toolbox, Flexible Flyer snow sled, miscellaneous PVC pipe fittings, bailing twine, paint supplies, propane wall heater, two antique Mobile brand gas cans, McCulloch Pro Mac chainsaw, sump pump, Craftsman rotary trimmer-router, navy illumination flare container, antique drill press, two metal saw horses, antique vice, axle with attached wheels, heavy duty tie-down straps, shooting bench rest, pipe threading tools, and miscellaneous plastic containers.
“These items are considered evidence,” according to the search warrant, “and/or fruits of the crime of theft of property.”
When Meyer requested the State Police investigation on Sherrell in February, she also requested an audit of the Judge’s office. Four state auditors conducted the audit for the period of time Sherrell was in office, according to Izard County Judge Eric Smith.
The investigation is still ongoing.

accident
CHASE ENDS AT MARK MARTIN DEALERSHIP IN MELBOURNE: A 17 year old male juvenile in a stolen vehicle out of Montana, sped away from the Arkansas State Police on Friday, October 2 at approximately 5:30 p.m., traveling from north of Mt. Pleasant through Melbourne at a high rate of speed. He lost control of his vehicle at the intersection of Hwys. 9 and 69, flipping at least once. The juvenile exited the vehicle, was pursued on foot and captured within 20 minutes. No one was injured in the crash; however, several vehicles at the dealership sustained damage. New vehicles damaged were a Tahoe, two Silverado trucks, and two Equinox. Total damage was $237,000 according to Gary Hunt at the dealership.

arrest
Over the course of the past year, officers with the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Mammoth Spring Police Department, Salem Police Department and Arkansas State Police have been conducting a drug investigation of methamphetamine distribution in Fulton County. Officers have made over 20 arrests related to the distribution of methamphetamine in this case with more arrests to come, and have seized thousands of dollars worth of narcotics in the ongoing investigation. The charges range from simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, to possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
On August 5, 46 year old Lanny R. McCormick of Viola was arrested for Use/Possession with the Purpose to Use Methamphetamine Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony.
On August 6, 47 year old James William Braddock of Viola was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance.
On August 8, 46 year old Kimberly Hall of Viola was arrested for DWI Drugs, Driving on a Suspended License and Refusal to Submit a Chemical Test.
On August 8, 42 year old Shawn Oliver Richards, of Thayer, MO was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver Methamphetamine, a class B felony; Unlawful use of a Communication Device, a class C felony; Use/Possession with the Purpose to use Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony; Use/Possession with the Purpose to use Drug Paraphernalia with the Purpose to Manufacture Meth, a class B felony; and Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, a class Y felony.
On August 10, 34 year old Jack H. Culbreath of Damascus was arrested for DWI Drugs, Failure to Maintain Control of a Vehicle and Implied Consent.­­­­­­
On August 15, 25 year old Chrystal Lynn Herpst of West Plains, MO was arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine/Cocaine with the Purpose to Deliver, a class B felony; Possession with the Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony; Use/Possession with the Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia with the Purpose to Manufacture, Store, Contain or Conceal Methamphetamine/Cocaine.
On August 18, 45 year old James Denton Starks of Mammoth Spring was arrested for Use/Possession with the Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony.
On August 18, 38 year old Cynthia Deann Willman of Mammoth Spring was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver, a class D felony.
On August 18, 28 year old Uriah Alexander Robinson of Mammoth Spring was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver Marijuana, a class D felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver Methamphetamine, a class B felony; Possession with Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia with the Purpose to Ingest Methamphetamine, a class D felony; Possession with Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia with Purpose to Pack, Repack, Store, Contain or Conceal Methamphetamine/Cocaine, a class B felony.
On August 18, 46 year old Randy Gene Ninemire of Mammoth Spring was arrested for Maintaining a Drug Premises, a class B felony, within a 1,000 feet of certain drug free zone; Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver, to wit, Marijuana, a class D felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver Methamphetamine, a class B felony; Possession with Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia with Purpose to Ingest Methamphetamine, a class D felony; Possession with the Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia with the Purpose to Pack, Repack, Store, Contain, or Conceal Methamphetamine/Cocaine, a class B felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with Purpose to Deliver, to wit, LSD, a class C felony.
On August 20, 28 year old Scottie Jewell, 32 year old Bruce James Haskins and 32 year old Brandi Simpson, all of Mammoth Spring, were arrested for Maintaining a Drug Premises, a class C felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver Methamphetamine/Cocaine, a class A felony; Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver, to wit, Oxycodone, a class C felony; Use/Possession with the Purpose to Use Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony; Use/Possession with the Purpose to Process, Prepare, Test, Analyze, Pack, Repack, Store, Contain Meth, a class B felony; Unlawful Use of a Communication Device, a class C felony.
On August 20, 42 year old Shawn Richards and 35 year old Rhonda Crouch, both of Mammoth Spring/Thayer area, were arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver, to wit, Methamphetamine, a class B felony; and Destruction of Evidence, a class D felony.
“Officers will continue to disrupt the distribution of narcotics in the Fulton County area,” said Al Roork, Fulton County Chief Deputy.
In other arrests, on August 6, 56 year old Debora Ann Wegenke of Salem was arrested for Felony Aggravated Assault on a Certified Law Enforcement Officer, Shoplifting, Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.
On August 8: 52 year old Stephen Dewayne Cope of Pine Bluff was arrested for DWI; 19 year old Nicholas A. Bearce of Jonesboro was arrested for DWI and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License; 49 year old Julie C. Matlock of Oxford was arrested for DWI; 26 year old Jacob Tanner Creasey of Little Rock was arrested for DWI; 49 year old James Floyd Daniels of Memphis, TN was arrested for DWI and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
On August 9, 43 year old Terry Lee Price of Newbern, TN was arrested for DWI and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
On August 15, 23 year old Bruce Carroll Simpson of West Helena was arrested for DWI and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.
On August 16, 48 year old Robert Thomas Rollins of Glencoe was arrested for two counts of Domestic Battery in the Third Degree.
On August 16, 21 year old Adam Murphy Rollins of Glencoe was arrested for Domestic Battery in the Third Degree.
On August 14, 48 year old Susan Donatto of Viola was arrested for Disorderly Conduct.

On Thursday, July 25, a shooting occurred at the residence of Dale Koeling on Pleasant Valley Rd. in northern Fulton County.
According to Fulton Sheriff Kenneth “Buck” Foley, Koeling and Ricky Due sustained gunshot wounds and were hospitalized.
The investigation is being conducted by the FCSO and Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police. The investigation is still in progress.