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.


On May 28, Malissa Dawn Penderson, age 37 of Cave City, was arrested by Deputy Rusty Ford for possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia. Penderson bonded on a $2,370 bond and is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on June 29.
On May 28, Joshua Daniel Jones, age 35 of Melbourne, was arrested by Deputy Ford for possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones bonded on a $2,370 bond and is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on June 29.
On May 28, Roger Lee Johnson age 47, was arrested by Deputy Teirnan for harassment. Johnson is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $1,000 bond. Johnson is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 29.
On May 27, Kemper Joe Payne age 32, was arrested by Sgt. Steve Davidson for DWI, refusal to submit to chemical test, fleeing and no drivers license. Payne is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $1,235 bond. Payne is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on July 29.
On May 24, Franklin Eugen Willey, age 28 of Batesville, was arrested by Deputy Geoffery Watts for theft of property a class A misdemeanor. Willey is incarcerated in Izard County Detention Center. Willey is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 13.
On May 25 Jessie Ray Brock age 35 of Calico Rock was arrested by Deputy Geoffery Watts for Contempt of Court. Brock is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center and is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 15.
On May 25, Cody Justin Casey age 29 of Horseshoe Bend was arrested by Deputy Mike Smith and charged with no license plates and no drivers license. Casey bonded on a $340 bond and is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Horseshoe Bend on June 13.
On May 26, Ricky Shelton Dowdle age 61 was arrested by Lieutenant Charley Melton for theft of property a class D felony and breaking or entering a class B felony. Dowdle is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $5,000 bond.
On May 23, Robert J. Harris age 31, plead guilty to breaking or entering, a class d felony; theft of property, a class d felony; and theft of property, a class a misdemeanor. Harris received 36 months in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and was ordered to pay $4,800 restitution. Also on May 23, Jeffery D. McKinney age 33, plead guilty to two counts of breaking or entering; a class d felony; theft of property, a class d felony; and commercial burglary, a class c felony. Mckinney received 24 months in a Community Correction Facility and was ordered to pay $4,800 restitution. These pleas stem from the Newburg Tractor and Equipment burglaries and thefts.
On May 21, Richard Magourk, age 30 of Melbourne, was arrested by Deputy Richard Williams for public intoxication. Magourk was incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center. Magourk was given an own recognizance bond by Judge David Miller. Magourk is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 29.
On May 20, Marlon Ray Walls was arrested by Deputy D.J Teirnan for theft by receiving, no drivers license, improper display of light for vehicle, no license plates and no liability insurance. Walls is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on June 29.
On May 20, Eric Henry Bargery age 44, was arrested by Deputy Tiernan for theft by receiving. Bargery is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in leiu of a $620 bond. Bargery is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 29.
On May 21, George Jarl Clark Jr. age 50, was arrested by Deputy Jaden Whitfield for possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor; possession of drug paraphernalia, a class a misdemeanor; and operation of a vehicle without license plates. Clark is incarcerated in the Detention Center in lieu of a $300 cash bond. Clark is scheduled to appear in District Court on June 29.


On April 30, William Vachel Key, age 52, was arrested by Deputy Richard Crowe for domestic battery – third degree and terroristic threatening – second degree. Key was incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center with a $1,740 bond. Key bonded out and is scheduled to be in District Court in Horseshoe Bend on June 13.
On April 8, Tim Samuel Greenway, age 31 of Melbourne, was arrested by Deputy Steve Davidson for Domestic battery – third degree. Greenway is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center with a $1,120 bond. Greenway is scheduled to appear in District Court on June 15.
On May 9, Markium Lee Bounds, age 55 of Wiseman, was arrested by Deputy Toby Smith for driving while license suspended or revoked. Bounds was incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center and bonded on a $325 bond. Bounds is scheduled to appear in District Court in Horseshoe Bend on June 13.
On May 11, Gigi Dawn Murray, age 31 of Batesville, was arrested by Deputy Mike Foster for two counts of possession of a controlled substance without prescription. Murray is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center with a $1,250 bond. Murray is scheduled to appear in District Court in Horseshoe Bend on June 13.
On May 11, Mathew Paul Stradnquist, age 36 of Russellville, was arrested by Crowe for failure to appear. Stradnquist is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center with a $465 cash bond. Stradnquist is scheduled to appear in District Court in Melbourne on June 15.
On May 9, Jeremy Michael Eppes, age 40 of Walnut Ridge, was arrested by Deputy DJ Teirnan for failure to appear in Izard County Circuit Court. Eppes is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center with no bond. Eppes is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court on May 23.
On May 11, Lucus Shane Johnson was arrested by Deputy Mark Simino for possession of marijuana. Johnson is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $1,120. bond. Johnson is scheduled to appear in District Court on June 15.
On May 14, Reggie Lelon Taylor, age 40, was arrested by Deputy Jaden Whitfield for fleeing and driving while license suspended. Taylor is incarcerated in jail in lieu of $1,485 bond. Taylor is scheduled to appear on June 15.


On April 23, there was a structure fire on Vest Cemetery Road at Boswell. The house belonged to Elizabeth Daigle and Linda Cooper.
The owners advised that the house was valued at $10,000 to $15,000, it was a total loss.
On April 25, James Adam Horness, age 19 of Calico Rock, and Shelby Jay Autry, age 19 of Big Flat, were both formally charged with criminal trespass, a class b misdemeanor, and arson, a class b felony. Both are incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $10,000 bond. Horness and Autry are scheduled to appear in Izard County Circuit Court on May 23.
On April 28, Joshua Dean Thomas, age 39 of Higden was arrested by Deputy Evan Jones and charged with failure to pay fines. Thomas is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $440 cash bond. Thomas is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on May 4.
On April 27, Ronald Junior Hill, age 22 of Salem, was arrested by Deputy Evan Jones for endangering the welfare of a minor third degree and domestic battery third degree. Hill is scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Melbourne on May 8.
On April 25, Dalton Lee Chris Morgan, age 26 of Violet Hill, was arrested by Deputy Richard Crowe for domestic battery third degree and possession of drug paraphernalia. Also arrested in the same incident was Corey Joe Bushman, age 26 of Violet Hill. Bushman was also charged with domestic battery third degree and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both Morgan and Bushman are scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court on June 15.
On April 30 William Vachel Key, age 52 of Horseshoe Bend, was arrested by Deputy Toby Smith for domestic battery third degree and terroristic threatening second degree. Key is incarcerated in the Izard County Detention Center in lieu of a $1,740 bond. Key was scheduled to appear in Izard County District Court in Horseshoe Bend on May 2.

matthew-jones
by Karen Sherrell
IZARD COUNTY — A traffic stop on a vehicle in Izard County on Thursday, December 1, led to a vehicle chase in two counties, with the suspect still at-large as of Sunday, December 1. Sgt. Mark Simino issued a traffic stop on a black Chevrolet Tahoe, with fictitious plates, driven by Matthew L. Jones.
According to Chief Deputy Earnie Blackley, Jones is on parole from the Arkansas Department of Corrections, and it was determined that he was driving on a suspended driver’s license. Parole Officer Josh Morehead advised the Izard County Sheriff’s Office to take Jones into custody.
At that time, Jones fled the scene and a vehicle pursuit covering two counties and jurisdictions began. Jones drove into Fulton County, and subsequently abandoned the vehicle at Union, located between Salem and Oxford.
Jones, who remains at large, is described as a caucasian male with brown eyes, black hair, with a beard and mustache. He is 33 years old, 5’7”, and weighs 150 pounds.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Jones is asked to contact the Izard County Sheriff’s Department at 870-368-4203.

sonar
by Karen Sherrell
HORSESHOE BEND – A 19 year old man drowned in Crown Lake on Tuesday, November 22, when he fell from a boat he was testing.
According to officials on the scene, Colt Farley of Zion, formerly of Melbourne, brought his boat to the Box Hound Marina boat launch at approximately 5:30 p.m. Farley had plans to go duck hunting the following morning, and wanted to test his boat first. He was to meet friends at a ballgame Tuesday evening and never arrived. His friends tried to contact Farley, and they decided to travel to the marina to see if he was still there.
At approximately 10:45 p.m. Izard County dispatch received a call from the marina, when Farley’s truck and boat trailer were discovered on the launch, with the truck door open and engine running.
Izard County deputies, first responders and Horseshoe Bend Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the scene. According to Deputy Earnie Blackley, Farley’s boat was discovered across the lake. Volunteers also combed the banks surrounding the lake.
Personnel returned to the scene Wednesday at dawn, with rescue boats with sonar to search for and recover the body. Arkansas Game and Fish Dive Team of Camden arrived on the scene at 11 a.m. and continued the search for Farley. His body was recovered at approximately 1:45 p.m.

adamrush
Around 7 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, Izard County dispatch received a call from Calico Rock Elementary School stating there was a naked man in the school.
Shortly before 7 a.m. a staff member arrived at the school and heard loud moaning coming from a hallway. A classroom door was partially open and the lights were on. The staff member knew no one should be in the building, and discovered a naked man sitting in a teacher’s chair holding a pair of scissors.
The man, identified as Adam Rush, age 36 of the area, dropped the scissors when commanded to do so by the responding deputies but refused to comply past that point. He refused to submit to arrest or follow orders and was tased multiple times, many without any effect, and was finally subdued by four officers.
Sheriff Tate Lawrence said, “The school reacted in a most appropriate manner by directing incoming elementary students to the gymnasium keeping them away from possible danger and avoiding them seeing the mass destruction to their school.” Following the incident, students were returned home and teachers and staff began cleaning up the debris.
Superintendent Jerry Skidmore estimated that damages to the school were at least $15,000.
Rush was charged with commercial burglary, a class ‘c’ felony; criminal mischief first degree, a felony; resisting arrest, a class ‘a’ misdemeanor. After being placed in the Izard County Detention Facility, Rush was further charged with disorderly conduct from destroying a security camera. Adams remains in jail on a $30,000 cash bond, and has a December 12 circuit court date.

arrests
ASH FLAT – According to the Sharp County Sheriff’s Office, three inmates assaulted a jailer and then escaped the county jail early Sunday morning, October 30.
According to reports, the three inmates escaped at 12:12 a.m. and then were taken into custody at 5:30 a.m. at the Water Department in Ash Flat, approximately two miles south of the jail.
All three subjects were taken into custody without incident by the North Central Unit Chase Team and Highland Police Chief Shane Russell.
Deputies say Jeffery “Major” Harris, 26; Dylan Cole Thompson, 20; and Joshua Keith Ray, 25; beat a jailer who went back to do a jail check. There were four inmates in the cell, and those three managed to get out. Harris was in jail on felony drug charges. Thompson was being held on felony drug charges and battery. Ray was being held on felony drug charges and parole bond.
According to Sgt. Aaron Presser, CID, the three stole a phone, clothes, water and food from the sewer treatment facility. Presser stated that nothing was stolen from the jail, no weapons were involved.
The jailer, Jonathan Trivitt, escaped the incident with only minor injuries.
All three men were formally charged on October 31 with escape, aggravated assault on a police officer, commercial burglary, and theft of property.
Assisting in the search were the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department, Ash Flat Police Department, Highland Police Department, Cherokee Village Police Department, Izard County Sheriff’s Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, Hardy Police Department, Ravenden Police Department, North Central Unit Chase Team and the Grimes Unit Chase Team.

counterfeit
Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence reported that counterfeit bills have shown up at various businesses in Izard County. Three fake $100 bills have surfaced in Horseshoe Bend and one has surfaced in Calico Rock. All the 100s have the same serial number of AB13990778M. A fake $10 and a fake $20 bill has also surfaced in Horseshoe Bend.
Lawrence said the back and front of the bills have separated to some degree. It appears the front and back of the bills were glued together and the glue is not holding.

accident
TWO-VEHICLE ACCIDENT: A two-vehicle accident occurred on Monday, August 8 at the intersection of Main and South Spring Streets in Melbourne. A 1995 Ford pickup, driven by Greg Sherrell of Oxford, rear-ended a 2011 Chrysler Pioneer Therapy and Living transport van driven by Tina Strong of Salem. Personnel with the Melbourne Fire Department utilized the Jaws of Life on the van to reach passengers. The driver and one passenger were transported by Vital Link Ambulance Service to White River Medical Center in Batesville. The accident happened at 7:45 a.m. and was investigated by Izard County Deputy Cody Cruse. Photo/B.Stapleton

theft

STOLEN SIGNS: Several street signs, two directional signs and stop signs were stolen along Pine Ridge Road in Horseshoe Bend last week. The city has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) involved in the theft. Pictured is the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Tri Lakes Drive, minus the street signs. See full story in the February 11 edition of Pacesetting Times. Photo/K.Sherrell

norton

Additional sex related charges have been filed against Robert J. Norton of Sage, who was previously charged in June of this year and is being held at the Fulton County Jail in Salem, on a $240,000 bond. According to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence, the latest charges against Norton, filed October 1, 2014, involve conduct with three female students in his fourth grade class, which he taught last school year at Izard County Consolidated Elementary in Violet Hill. Norton’s bond has been increased by $100,000 for a total bond of $340,000. See Pacesetting Times for full story and recap of previous charges.