A 30-year-old Berryville woman, formerly of Golden, Mo., was sentenced Monday in criminal court in Eureka Springs in three cases, including charges of possession and delivery of methamphetamine, violation of Arkansas' hot check law, and two counts of forgery.
In a negotiated plea between Special Prosecutor Steve Vowell and defense attorney Cindy Baker, Fern Denise Bass, also known as Cat, Dee and DeeDee, was sentenced to five years of state supervised probation, which includes provision for an interstate compact to allow the probation to be served in North Carolina where her minor child lives.
"It seems light for a Class Y felony," said Circuit Judge Alan D. Epley, an apparent reference to the meth-related charges, the oldest of the three cases. He noted that Class Y felonies carry possible sentences of up to 40 years or life in prison.
In addition, Bass is to pay $1,663.86 in victim restitution, $2,250 to the county, $150 in court costs, and a $250 DNA detection fee.
"You're going to have to figure out how to modify your lifestyle to leave out illegal substances," Epley told her.
Bass was first arrested in January 2002, and was charged with a Sept. 10, 2001 incident of meth delivery, and a Jan. 3, 2002, incident of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
The delivery charge was based on a confidential informant's purchases at her residence in a Berryville trailer park. The possession charge resulted from a traffic stop for speeding, during which a set of scales was found. At her booking, 2 grams of meth were found on her.
As that case began to wend through the court system, she was arrested again on Oct. 6, 2002, on charges of hot checks for writing four checks on a closed account to Berryville businesses between February and August of that year.
In March 2003, she was charged with two counts of forgery. Again in a traffic stop, Berryville police found items stolen from a Eureka Springs restaurant. Bass was apprehended through a parollee who reported picking up a female hitchhiker named Cat.
A Eureka Springs man, Jeremy Joseph Martin, 24, was sentenced to five years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to hot check charges. He wrote some 27 checks on a closed account between June and November of 2002.
The sentence allows for an interstate compact with Pennsylvania, where he may be allowed to serve his sentence. In addition to the five years, he is to pay victim restitution of $2,677.85, court costs of $150, $500 restitution to the county, $350 for the public defender, and a $250 DNA detection fee.
Rebecca Riggs Jordan, 41, of Springdale pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and pseudoephedrine, and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation.
She is to perform 40 hours of community service, as well as pay $1,400 in court-related fees and costs.
Riggs was arrested, along with Pamela Arlene McCarty, 43, of West Fork, on Aug. 20, 2002, after a police radio dispatch reported they had possibly stolen some cold medicine.
Police found the car parked at a convenience store in Eureka Springs, and the women produced receipts for three boxes of a product containing ephedrine from Wal-Mart, and a box containing four packets of different cold medicine, along with two packets not in the box. A search of the vehicle produced 12 more packets of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine medication, which the women said they took for their nerves.
Kristi Denis Slate, 28, of Fayetteville, pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation. She is to pay $1,899.23 in victim restitution, and $1,150 in costs and fees.
Slate was arrested in February 2002 after passing a check with a fictitious name, a telephone number with the 479 area code, a Harrison address, a Fayetteville ZIP code and an invalid driver's license number.
Slate appears to have been one of three women in the Fayetteville area generating and passing checks in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, using about 35 aliases.
A report from Washington County indicated Slate also wrote two fraudulent checks with two other names there.
After his case was dismissed in the Eastern District of Carroll County Circuit Court, Robert Lee Lefever, 34, of Berryville, was again arraigned on a charge of rape alleged to have taken place on the west side of the King's River.
Defense attorney Baker objected to Prosecutor Tony Rogers' request for a Nov. 19 trial date, asking for a bill of particulars and saying the vagueness of information made her unable to determine where the incident allegedly took place.
Rogers responded that the address of 44 County Road 424 has always been the location, but that the address is on the west side of the river, making it in the Western District's jurisdiction.
Rogers asked for a transfer order of the information in the dismissed case to the new case in the western district, saying it was absurd to revisit such issues. Judge Epley ordered the transfer.
Apparently readying for a possible appeal, Baker said the charge could have been done by transfer instead of dismissing the Eastern District Case. Her objection that the process violated Lefever's right to a speedy trial was over-ruled.
Lefever allegedly had sex 30 to 50 times with a baby-sitter between January 1995 and February 2002, both at his residence in Berryville and the baby-sitter's home in Golden, Mo. The baby-sitter is reported to have been 13 when the incidents began.
Others arraignments included: