Court cases rise again as numbers top the 200-mark

Monday, December 1, 2003

Carroll County's criminal case numbers continued to rise as arraignments on Monday in Berryville neared the 200 level.

All of Monday's arraignments came from the county's Eastern District. As of Tuesday, the Western District was 12 cases away from tying its 1998 record of 60 cases.

Vida Dale Smith, 32, of Green Forest, pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and possession of anhydrous ammonia in an unlawful container (propane bottle), both Class B felonies.

He was arrested on Oct. 31, some five weeks after county deputies allegedly received information that Smith had a meth lab in his shop. On Sept. 25, deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in which Smith was allegedly being verbally abusive to a woman because she had been selling his guns.

A search produced a number of burned items in barrels at the residence, including blister packs, aerosol cans with holes bunched in them, and torn lithium batteries. In the shop, coffee filters with suspected methamphetamine sludge residue were allegedly found, along with two five-gallon buckets with layers of liquid in them, one with small white beads believed to be caustic acid. In the garage deputies reportedly found dry ice, suspected meth wrapped in foil, and a propane bottle in the freezer.

The case is Smith's second of the year. In June he was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture meth, and violation of a protection order, a misdemeanor.

That arrest came after county deputies and state troopers responded to a call from a neighbor of Smith's on Highway 103 North.

Smith's estranged wife, reported to be disappointed that law enforcement had not apprehended him earlier, gave permission to search the shop. The search produced scales, lithium batteries, a light bulb smoking device, a poem about meth, aluminum foil, a temporary protection order, about two and one-half pounds of rock salt, 20 punched ether cans, many pseudoephedrine blister packs, used coffee filters and paper towels, 11 medication tablets, plastic tubing, nasal decongestant tablets and an empty dry ice bag.

David Ray Klutts, 31, of Berryville was arraigned on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture (meth), with an habitual offender penalty enhancement.

He was arrested on Nov. 2 after the sheriff's office received a report that meth was being cooked at a Highway 21 North residence.

After officers got consent to search by Klutts' girlfriend, Klutts was found lying in the front seat of her Ford Explorer, and various meth-related cooking items and substances were found in the residence.

David Nelson Harp, 37, of Berryville was arraigned on five felony counts, including manufacture of a controlled substance (marijuana), possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of firearms by certain persons.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Harp's arrest occurred after a Nov. 4 series of events in which Klutts and his girlfriend allegedly went to Harp's residence to tell him that law enforcement was watching him.

Harp is reported to have asked Klutts if he was wearing a wire, and after Klutts said he was not, Harp allegedly pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the couple.

The girlfriend was allowed to go outside where another man, not facing criminal charges because of lack of solid evidence, is reported to have walked up behind her and pointed another semi-automatic pistol, possibly a .40-caliber Glock, at her.

The affidavit indicates that Harp and Klutts then injected meth, and the three men smoked a marijuana cigarette while Harp and the third man kept their guns close by.

At the time, Harp, previously convicted of drugs and weapons charges, was awaiting transport to the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Additional criminal charges have not been filed against Billy Dale Ohler, 37, of Alpena, pending a plea agreement in the works in an earlier case which is to include the pending charges, according to his attorney, Phillip Moon.

Ohler was arrested in a traffic stop while a passenger in a vehicle on a county road near Farewell.

With both Green Forest police and county deputies on the scene, a scuffle took place involving another passenger, in which an officer was injured. Ohler was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and fleeing an officer.

Ohler's pending charges arise from a traffic stop by Alpena police in June, and include meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.

Bobby Joe Rich, 26, of Berryville pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft of property, arising from an August removal of a van from a residence on County Road 802, and found at the intersection of County Roads 906 and 933.

Mark Everett Watts, 31, of Alpena, was arraigned on a charge of theft of property. He was arrested in early November in connection with the theft of $860 from a grocery store.

Chelsea Lea Valiente, 20, of Green Forest, pleaded not guilty to violation of Arkansas' hot check law, She is alleged to have written 23 bad checks between April 4 and June 3.

to businesses in Berryville, Eureka Springs, Alpena, Hugh and Green Forest, totaling $569.94.

In other court action, in the sexual abuse case against Jimmy D. Simpson, 39, of Green Forest, attorneys wrestled over the lack of specific dates during which the offenses are alleged to have occurred.

Simpson was arrested on a second-degree sexual abuse charge in March 2002. That charge, involving a minor female, were amended in August to add rape and first-degree sexual abuse.

Defense attorney Steve Vowell asked for specific times of the alleged offenses, which were reported to have happened between November 1998 and September 2001.

Special prosecutor Kent Crow stated that it is difficult to determine specific times with juvenile victims, adding that they began when the girl was eight years old, and became almost nightly by the time she was 10.

Judge Alan D. Epley ruled that Vowell's request for a bill of particulars was not required, and directed that specific acts be cited on the two new charges.

Simpson's case is scheduled as first out on Dec. 17.

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