Friday, September 6, 1991
BY Lynda Hollinbeck Courier Staff Writer
A rape charge in Hot Spring County Circuit Court was dismissed Wednesday
against David Crockett Stuart Jr. of Benton, authorities confirmed
The dismissal came after the prosecution lost an appeal to introduce genetic evidence in the case.
Stuart, a former Malvern resident, was charged in connection with the Oct. 29, 1988, rape of a 16-year-old deaf girl from Hot Spring County.
Authorities said testing conducted by the FBI matched Stuart's DNA with that found in semen samples taken from the blouse of the victim. The test reportedly claims the possibility of error in only about one instance in 6 million.
The DNA test results were ruled inadmissible in a Dec. 27, 1990, Saline County Circuit Court hearing by Circuit/Chancery Judge Phil Shirron, who ruled that then-Prosecutor Gary Arnold of Benton had not provided copies of laboratory analysis to the defendant in time to allow proper defense preparation.
Rather than proceed to trial without the test results, Arnold appealed to the state Supreme Court.
In May, Stuart was sentenced to a five-year term with the Arkansas Department of Correction and one year in the Saline County Detention Facility after a Saline County Circuit Court jury found him guilty of possession of marijuana and methamphetamine. He remains free on appeal, Deputy Prosecutor Richard Garrett said today.
Stuart was originally charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, but Special Prosecutor Paul Boson reduced that charge on the day of the trial.
Boson was appointed special prosecutor because Dan Harmon, who had since become prosecuting attorney for the 7th Judicial District, previously served as Stuart's lawyer.
By mutual agreement of the prosecution and defense attorney Richard Mattison, Stuart was sentenced as a first-offender.
During testimony in the trial, Stuart's psychiatrist, Dr. David Michael Good of Little Rock, said Stuart had been diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. Individuals with that disorder tend to be impulsive, inattentive and underachievers, he said.
The psychiatrist also said patients with that condition generally have difficulty holding jobs, have a tendency to "self-medicate" and tend to gravitate toward amphetamines because that type of drug has an opposite effect on them from what it does on someone not affected with the disorder.
At the time of his trial, Stuart was taking the drug most widely prescribed for hyperactivity the psychiatrist testified.
The Saline County charges stemmed from Stuart's arrest by the Bryant Police Department. Officers in Bryant received complaints that Stuart had allegedly identified himself as an employee of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office when he stopped three young girls in that community and allegedly attempted to entice them into his vehicle. A call to the Pulaski County agency indicated Stuart was a former employee, but no was longer working there, a Bryant police spokesman said at the time of Stuart's arrest.
A plastic bag containing marijuana and a syringe filled with a substance later identified as methamphetamine were located inside Stuart's vehicle after it had been taken to an impound facility, according to trial testimony given by Detective Sgt. Danny Allen of the Saline County Sheriff's Office.
When Stuart was arrested in connection with the Bryant incidents, he was initially charged with three counts of attempted kidnapping, but those charges were dismissed after Boson was appointed special prosecutor in the case.