Tuesday, June 01, 2010

TOP STORY > >Prosecutor wasn’t told Campbell’s a free man

Leader senior staff writer

Without fanfare—and apparently without the written notification from the parole board as required by law—former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, 50, was paroled and released from prison April 5 and his wife Kelly Campbell was granted parole
May 27 and could be free and reunited with her husband by early July.

The Campbells were tried together and convicted in April 2007 in a sprawling six-week trial that included tales of sex with prisoners, theft of drugs from friends, continuing criminal enterprise and manufacture of methamphetamine.

“We didn’t get a notice that he was going before the (parole) board,” Lonoke Prosecutor Will Feland said Tuesday afternoon.

“That would have piqued my interest.”

Feland said he believed notification was required.

He is not a career prosecutor but was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to finish the term of Lona McCastlain, who prosecuted the case.

There are at least two Arkansas statutes requiring notification, according to longtime Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

Arkansas Code 16-93-702 (a) reads, “Before the parole board shall grant any parole, the board shall solicit oral and written comment from the court (of conviction) the prosecuting attorney and sheriff of the county from which the inmate was committed.”

Another law requires written notification upon parole to the sheriff, the committing court and the chief of police of all cities of the first class of the county from which the person was sentenced.


“I haven’t been notified,” said Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson, “or if I have, I don’t remember.”

Campbell was originally sentenced to 40 years in prison, but on Nov. 5, the state Supreme Court overturned Jay Campbell’s convictions and remanded the case back to Lonoke County Circuit Court.

Feland charged him anew with 17 counts, but following a negotiation, Campbell pleaded guilty Feb. 5 and was sentenced to 15 years with credit for 969 days already served, according to Dina Tyler, spokesman for the state Corrections Department.

He was released from prison April 5 and will be released from parole June 17, 2022, according to Rhonda Sharp of the state Department of Community Punishment.

Campbell’s wife, Kelly Harrison Campbell, will be eligible for parole Sept. 5, but she could be set free as early as July under the emergency powers act, which allows for early release under crowded prison conditions.

Both Campbells will have to work community service hours, and submit to periodic drug and alcohol testing.


“I saw (Jay Campbell) Sunday,” said former Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett, who was briefly a codefendant with the Campbells for having state inmates do some work at his house.

He said Campbell came to visit while his two daughters were visiting their mother in prison.

“He’s (living) in Conway,” said Privett. “His girls are in school in Conway. He’s his same old self, upbeat, looking forward to (his wife) getting out.”

Privett said Campbell had some employment possibilities working for relatives, perhaps an uncle who has a marina.

He said Campbell had come to visit Privett’s wife, who is recovering from a broken hip.