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Lobbyist gets 7 years in bribery case involving Arkansas state officials

Lobbyist gets 7 years in bribery case involving  Arkansas state officials


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing three former Arkansas state lawmakers, including the governor’s nephew, has been sentenced to seven years in prison without parole.

Rusty Cranford was sentenced in federal court Monday for bribing Republican state Sen.

Jon Woods, Democratic state Rep. Hank Wilkins and Republican state Sen.

Jeremy Hutchinson. Prosecutors say Cranford paid the bribes to benefit the Missouri-based nonprofit Preferred Family Health-Care, whose former executives also face charges.

Of the lawmakers involved, Woods was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Wilkins and Hutchinson have both pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Hutchinson is the nephew of Arkansas’ Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson.

Cranford was also ordered to repay more than $3.7 million that prosecutors say he received in the scheme.

Cranford faced up to ten years in prison.


Police investigating dog mutilation case in Paragould

PARAGOULD — Paragould police are investigating after receiving a report of a dog that had been mutilated.

An officer responded to the 1100-block of South 6th Street Friday and spoke with the dog’s owner.

The owner said when she arrived home Thursday, she was told her dog had gotten loose and that someone found it dead near the railroad tracks by Riggs and Baldwin Street.

The victim showed the officer photos of what she believed was an act of animal mutilation.

“I observed that the dog’s tail had been degloved and the dog’s mouth was bloody and appeared to be missing teeth,” the police report stated.

The officer asked the victim why she did not file the report when she made the discovery. She said she did not know she could tell something like this to the police.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Paragould police at 870-236-7621.


Pair arrested in connection with Trumann Valero store robbery

TRUMANN — Trumann

police have arrested two people suspected in a Thursday night armed robbery.

Around 9 p.m. Nov. 21, police responded to the Valero Convenience Store, 800 Speedway, where police say two men robbed the store at gunpoint.

The police department reported on social media Tuesday, Nov. 26, that they had arrested 36-yearold Michael Murray of Little Rock and a 17-yearold male from Blytheville. Both will be charged with aggravated burglary, according to the statement. The juvenile will also be charged with aggravated assault.

“Due to the violent nature of his assault on the victim, we will be pursuing charges on the juvenile as an adult,” Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington is quoted as saying.

Murray will appear in Poinsett County District Court on Wednesday for a probable cause hearing. The juvenile’s hearing will occur within a few days.

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