by Karen Sherrell
On November 6, former Izard County Judge David Sherrell entered a negotiated plea of guilty to charges, formally filed five days earlier, of criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, forgery (two counts) and theft.
Sherrell waved his right to a jury trial, and with his attorneys L. Gray Dellinger of Melbourne and Tom Thompson of Batesville, appeared before Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver, who asked Sherrell if he understood the charges against him, to which Sherrell replied, “Yes.”
Sherrell was sentenced to six years in the Regional Correctional Facility in Osceola, and ordered to pay $35,000 restitution to the victim, the taxpayers of Izard County, plus $1,920 in fines and court costs.
“Basically we have to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money,” said Izard County Judge Eric Smith. “It makes me sad when someone takes advantage of their power. We are to watch the money, spend it wisely and not steal from the public.”
According to Sherrell’s sentencing order, $25,750 is payable by Sherrell, and $9,250 is payable by Sherrell and his son-in-law Matt Orf. Payments must begin within 30 days of Sherrell’s release from prison, and be not less than $500 a month.
Sherrell, Orf and Paul Shuttleworth were arrested following an investigation into discrepancies of equipment purchases and sales from March 2015 through December 2016.
Sherrell, who served as the county judge from 2011 to 2016, was investigated by Dennis Simons, with the Arkansas State Police, when Sixteenth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer opened the investigation in February 2017.
Charges were in connection with the purchase and sale of a 20 ton trailer, purchase of a John Deere road grader and a Case bulldozer, and theft of tools and equipment, all belonging to Izard County.
Orf was charged with criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, in connection with the sale of the trailer, and Shuttleworth was charged with forgery in the second degree, in connection with the purchase of the road graders.
Both Orf and Shuttleworth are scheduled to appear in court on November 22.
Sherrell was reprimanded to the custody of Izard County authorities immediately following his plea agreement November 6. In lieu of the State charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office will not seek Federal charges, according to the agreement. Sherrell could face civil charges for ethics violations, through the Arkansas Ethics Commission.