Arkansas Crime

James Womack
Benton County Sheriff's Office

The son of an Arkansas congressman has been arrested on multiple drug and gun charges.

Benton County jail records show that 31-year-old James Phillip Womack was arrested Thursday night on 11 counts, including possession of methamphetamine or cocaine with intent to deliver.

Womack is being held without bond Friday. He is the son of Republican Rep. Steve Womack, who represents northwest Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District.

James Phillip Womack pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

John Brown
KARK-Channel 4

An Arkansas man who has been imprisoned since 1992 for robbery and murder convictions has been released after a judge overturned his conviction last month.

A judge ordered John Brown's release Wednesday after he served 26 years for the 1988 killing and robbery of an elderly woman in Fordyce. The Midwest Innocence Project, which appealed on Brown's behalf, says Brown's lawyer at the time was "ineffective and corrupt," and argued the state withheld potentially exculpatory evidence.

In 2015, Brown's co-defendant confessed to committing the crimes alone.

The Catholic prelate for Arkansas says he isn’t aware of any recent allegations of clerical sex abuse in the state, at least since the Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

That's a set of procedures for addressing allegations of abuse against priests, and guidelines for reconciliation and prevention of future abuse written and adopted in 2002.

The news of Steven Dishman’s arrest last summer invited comparisons to a well-known Hollywood fiction, that of Dr. Richard Kimble, “The Fugitive,” a man fingered for the monstrous murder of his wife who borrows time as an escapee to hunt the real killer.

“He’s been on the run for 32 years, basically playing the old Richard Kimble part,” says lifelong friend Dennis Dablemont of Springdale, where Dishman was raised. “Just eluding the police, and he’s right underneath their noses.”

Bill Gwatney
Arkansas Business

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the murder of Bill Gwatney, chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. He was shot August 13, 2008 at the party’s state headquarters in Little Rock and died several hours later. The gunman would be shot and killed by police later that afternoon.

Jeff Sessions Cody Hiland
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Arkansas on Wednesday for a pair of events. Speaking at the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, he called for a fix to a Supreme Court ruling regarding violent offenders. Sessions later joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other officials near Hot Springs to discuss school safety.

Arkansas School Safety Commission
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas School Safety Commission is recommending that each school in the state have an armed presence on campus. That means at least one trained person with a firearm would be available to immediately respond to any act of violence, including an active shooter.

The recommendation was one of 19 included in a preliminary report from the panel, which was created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson after a February school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and staff and wounded 17 others.

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View.
Arkansas Times/Brian Chilson

The freshly minted Select Committee on Senate Ethics held its first meeting Thursday and elected its leadership. The Senate last week approved rule changes creating the committee to hear and investigate claims of corruption. Its formation comes on the heels of federal investigations that have led to five former lawmakers being convicted.

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, was confirmed as chair. She says good ethics rules aren’t partisan.

An ex-lobbyist has pleaded guilty in a multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe Arkansas lawmakers and embezzle from a Missouri-based nonprofit where he worked.

Rusty Cranford of Rogers, Arkansas, admitted paying bribes to former state Sen. Jon Woods, former state Rep. Henry Wilkins IV and a legislator identified only as "Arkansas Senator A." Outside his lobbying work, Cranford oversaw Springfield, Missouri-based Preferred Family Healthcare's operations in Arkansas.

Asa Hutchinson III
Washington Co. Sheriff's Office

The son of Gov. Asa Hutchinson has again been arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities report.

An Arkansas State Police tropper stopped William Asa Hutchinson III in Washington County early Monday for allegedly driving 88 miles-per-hour in an area where the speed limit is 70. Hutcinson reportedly had bloodshot eyes, prompting the trooper to investigate whether he was intoxicated. He was speeding, DWI, violation of the implied consent law. The final charge was because he refused to submit to a test that would determine his blood-alcohol content.

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