Fitness to proceed and criminal responsibility exams ordered
Charges have been upgraded from aggravated assault to battery first degree, in the case of an elderly woman being attacked by her caregiver, and subsequently dying.
Jennifer Lea Collins, age 55 of Mammoth Spring, had her charges upgraded on June 19 by Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce. She has been incarcerated at the Sharp County Jail since the crime on May 11. She was also charged with adult abuse. Both charges are class b felonies.
The charge of battery is defined on the order as “causing serious physical injury to another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
The court has ordered a fitness to proceed examination on Collins, as well as a criminal responsibility examination. Attorney R.T. Starken of Cherokee Village is representing Collins in the case.
Collins, according to the affidavit of arrest in the case, had attacked 92 year old Jane Sandefur, at her home in Cherokee Village. Collins had been hired as a caregiver for Sandefur. The victim sustained serious injuries to her face, arms, legs and chest, all from being bitten.
Collins smelled of alcohol, according to the affidavit, and was not making any sense in answering questions or making statements to officers. Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey E. Crook obtained a verbal search warrant to draw a sample of Collins’ blood, and it was sent to the Crime Lab in Little Rock for analysis.
Sandefur died the next day following the attack.
According to court orders, Collins, through her attorney, has requested simultaneous fitness to proceed and criminal responsibility examinations. The Director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services of the DHS will determine who will examine Collins, who intends to rely on the defense of mental disease or defect.
Collins could face up to a 20 year sentence on each charge.

LETTERS OF INTENT: Highland High School senior Jacey Ann Oakes signed two letters of intent on Tuesday, February 7 to play softball and volleyball for Crowley’s Ridge College, CRC, located in Paragould. Currently, Jessica Sellers is her softball coach and Kolby King coached her in volleyball at Highland. Jacey is the very first athlete from Highland to sign a letter of intent to play volleyball, and the very first female athlete to play two sports in college. Jacey is the daughter of Richie and Dana Hepler of Cherokee Village, and Jason Oakes of Hardy. Pictured (l to r) Richie and Dana Hepler, Jacey, CRC’s head softball coach Jordan Malone, CRC’s assistant softball coach Kourtney Brown, and CRC’s head volleyball coach Barry Wheeler. Photo/C.Johnson