Wednesday, March 14, 2007

TOP STORY >>Campbell witness reluctant to testify

Leader staff writer

Special Judge John Cole found inmate Anthony Shane Scott in contempt of court Tuesday for refusing to testify in the corruption, theft, drug and sex trial of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and two codefendants. Campbell is accused of running a continuing criminal enterprise, while his wife Kelly Campbell and bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox are charged with participating in the enterprise.

The Campbells, between them, are charged with about 72 crimes, most of them residential burglary, theft of property or theft of drugs. Jay Campbell, Cox and fellow bail bondsman Larry Norwood are charged with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine. Norwood will be tried separately.

Scott, 31, a former Act 309 state prison trustee assigned to the Lonoke jail, was originally expected to testify to engaging in sex about two dozen times with Campbell’s wife, Kelly Campbell, and receiving contraband from her while housed at that jail.
Cole sentenced Scott to 90 days for contempt and the prosecution subpoenaed Scott to be returned to court Wednesday morning in Cabot, where he will face an additional 90 days if he again refuses to testify, according to deputy pro-secutor Jack McQuary.

The prosecution will ask that Scott’s contempt convictions, which could total one year, be served before resumption of the sentence he’s serving at the Correction Department.

Scott is serving 20 years on a 2003 robbery conviction in Mississippi County and would have been parole eligible in August 2008. But Scott, through his court-ordered attorney, Larry Cook, demanded full immunity and reassignment from his current Correction Department location, where he said he was being threatened and harassed by guards.

Prosecutor Lona McCastlain offered Scott immunity for anything but perjury in his testimony, but she said that the prosecution couldn’t make Correction Department inmate-housing as-signments. Scott, who took the stand only to identify himself and defer to his lawyer, seemed alternately agitated, bored and defiant, looking sometimes toward Kelly Campbell, drumming his fingers on the witness stand while the lawyers argued around him.

Toward the end of Tuesday’s testimony, prosecutors called another inmate, Ryan Childress, who testified that Campbell and the Lonoke police confiscated $15,000 from him when he was arrested for possession and delivery of methamphetamine, but logged in and returned only about $600.

“I walked out with nothing,” said Childress. “No money and no receipt for money.”

The $600 he got back about 30 months later, he said. The state maintains that Jay Campbell diverted that money to his own use, while the defense is expected to show Wednesday that Childress testified to investigators several times before mentioning the missing money.
Jewelry previously identified as having been stolen from the Lonoke home of Jackie and Donna Moore, at the time friends of the Campbells, was re-identified by officers Monday as having been found at the Campbell home during the execution of a search warrant. Among those pieces were Donna Moore’s 1977 Lonoke High School class ring with her initials inside and a gold-nugget bracelet.

During a Monday hearing, with the jury adjourned, Cole ruled that the prosecution could introduce as evidence anything found in Kelly Campbell’s purse the day she was arrested, but not the statements she made after asking for a lawyer.
The purse included a pen barrel allegedly used for snorting or smoking drugs, and the makings of a makeshift pipe, four letters from inmates, two driver’s licenses and an ID for her police chief husband.

Again in the absence of the jury, a state Crime Lab DNA specialist testified that the DNA samples on a drinking straw that prosecutors say has methamphetamine residue on the inside, belongs to Kelly Campbell and to Jay Campbell or a close male family member, apparently shooting down the defense that one of Campbell’s young daughters could have left the DNA while drinking a beverage. Scott also had been expected to testify that he got the straw with Jay Campbell’s DNA on it from Kelly Campbell so he would have some leverage over her husband.

That straw was found wrapped in a paper towel in Scott’s VCR, which was being held in inmate property. Scott’s DNA was not found on the straw. Also this week, the prosecution set the stage for its charge that Jay Campbell diverted $240 from improper cash accounts at the jail and also that his captain, Sean O’Nale, took $1,700, which he later paid back. McCastlain said earlier that O’Nale had been granted immunity in exchange for his testimony. While there were other irregularities with the two cash accounts at the jail, many were typical of the kinds of things revealed in routine annual legislative audits, like money being spent for things like Special Olympics tee shirts or the flower fund. Much of the testimony this week has been the slow and laborious crossing of “t”s and dotting of “i”s as the prosecution pieced together evidence and chain of custody.
During the search of the Campbell residence, about 20 bottles of medication were confiscated, according to witnesses, but state Crime Lab chemist Benjamin Peacock identified them one at a time for the prosecution, finding that while several required prescriptions, only one was a controlled substance. Court will adjourn for the week Wednesday afternoon because of a scheduling conflict, and again next week for three days, Cole ruled.