2007-02-01

What the hell is going on in Texarkana?

Not one, but two stories of gross men sexually assaulting minors.

http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2007/01/31/local_news/news/news01.prt

Man faces sexual assault charge: Suspect allegedly molested a 14-year-old male, exposing him to HIV

Editor’s note: The following story contains sensitive details regarding an alleged sexual assault victim.

By Lynn LaRowe
Texarkana Gazette

A Texarkana, Ark., man is facing two criminal charges that stem from the same incident in which a 14-year-old boy was allegedly molested.

A charge of exposing another person to the potentially deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been added to a charge of sexual assault already pending against the man.

Jerry Gray, 22, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment before Miller County Circuit Judge Joe Griffin. A trial is scheduled for Feb. 12, said Carlton Jones, deputy prosecutor for Miller County.

According to court documents, the teenage victim told members of the Texarkana, Ark., Police Department he went to the suspect’s apartment in October with a male cousin and the cousin’s girlfriend.

The suspect is also accused of giving the victim alcohol and having oral sex with him. Authorities say the suspect is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Because the suspect allegedly did not use a condom during oral sex, the victim may have been exposed.

Court records also show that later the same evening, the victim was watching television in the suspect’s bedroom when the suspect tried to convince him to engage in anal sex with him.

The victim told police he first turned down Gray’s advances. Gray is alleged by the victim and the victim’s cousin, who also spoke with police, to have asked the cousin for a condom.

According to court documents, the cousin did not provide Gray with a condom, though one was located and used by the suspect and the victim during anal sex. The victim told police he consented to Gray’s continued requests for sex because he was still under the influence of the beer Gray had given him to drink. Gray was identified from photo lineups by both the victim and the victim’s cousin. If convicted, Gray faces six to 30 years in prison for the HIV exposure charges and a fine of up to $15,000, said Jones. The sexual assault charges being levied against Gray carry a penalty range of up to six years and a fine not to exceed $10,000, Jones said.


http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2007/01/31/local_news/news/news02.prt

Grandfather gets 25 years for three counts of rape: Man pleads guilty to raping granddaughters, ages 9, 8 and 7

By JIM WILLIAMSON
Texarkana Gazette

ASHDOWN, Ark.—A 59-year-old grandfather pleaded guilty Tuesday in Little River County Circuit Court to three counts of rape of his granddaughters, ages 9, 8 and 7.

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Ted Capeheart sentenced Wayne Yandell of Ashdown to 25 years for the three rapes and Yandell will be required to serve 70 percent of the sentence or at least 17 1/2 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction before he is eligible for parole.

The charges carried a penalty range of 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

“We worked out a plea today. This keeps the children from having to testify and the children did not want to testify,” said Ninth Judicial District Prosecutor Tom Cooper. Yandell was scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 13 and a trial on Feb. 27.

The children and their parents were living with Yandell in Ashdown at the time of the crimes.

Yandell will be placed on the waiting list to be transferred to the Arkansas Department of Correction. He remains in the Little River County Jail in Ashdown.

Ashdown attorney Thad Bishop served as the public defender representing Yandell.

Yandell pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of receiving visual depiction of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes in the Western District of Arkansas.

The federal charges developed after about 2,000 pornographic images of children were found by authorities when a repair technician alerted them after working on the hard drive of Yandell’s computer, said U.S. Attorney Claude Hawkins.

A presentence investigation will be completed by federal probation officials and will include information regarding Yandell’s prior record, life history, employment history, other relevant information and a recommendation for punishment.

He is expected to return to Barnes’ court in about six weeks for sentencing. Yandell faces five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

An investigation conducted jointly by the Ashdown Police Department and the FBI resulted in the federal charges, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.