Basnett awaits sentence on weapons charges

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- 61-year-old Richard Dean Basnett, the Eureka Springs hotel owner who is facing a string of charges across the Ozarks in connection with the arson at the Pine Top Lodge and a multi-state theft ring, is currently awaiting sentencing in Oklahoma on federal weapons charges.

Basnett and his wife Jo June Ashing pled guilty in March to charges of felony possession of a firearm.

An indictment was handed down in February which was the result of a Cherokee County Sheriff's Department investigation in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The indictment states that on or about January 19 of this year, the defendants who had been convicted of crimes punishable by more than a year, "did knowingly possess in and affecting commerce, several firearms which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce."

The couple faces up to ten years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000. Charges in Carroll County are on hold until the federal matter is concluded.

Jason Sears who allegedly implicated Basnett in the arson and theft ring has been in the Taney County jail facing a slew of charges there, before he moves through the list of other counties waiting for a chance at him and before he returns to Carroll County to answer for the December 2011 arson and theft charges.

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