Arkansas governor 'distressed' by people not distancing
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says he's distressed by reports of people in the state not socially distancing because of the coronavirus. However, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday said the examples of which he heard over the weekend doesn't give him any regrets about allowing businesses shuttered by the virus to reopen. Hutchinson's comments come after social media posts over the weekend showed long lines and crowds at some retailers. Arkansas was not under a stay-at-home order but had other restrictions that Hutchinson recently rolled back. Restaurants were allowed to resume offering dine-in service Monday but with new safety rules and capacity limits.
Arkansas professor accused of not disclosing ties to China
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas has suspended an electrical engineering professor without pay after he was arrested on an allegation that he failed to disclose that he had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese businesses. A statement issued Monday by federal prosecutors says 63-year-old Simon S. Ang has been charged with a wire fraud count after failing to make the disclosure on an application for a NASA grant. A federal complaint says such materially false representations led to numerous wire messages that facilitated a scheme to defraud. A university spokeswoman says the school is cooperating with federal investigators. Jail records do not list an attorney for the professor.
Prosecutor says woman killed Arkansas lawmaker for money
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that a woman charged with killing a former Arkansas lawmaker last year did it for money and to avoid arrest. Robert Dittrich, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, filed a notice with Randolph County Circuit Court in late April. The Arkansas Times first reported on the new filing last week. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Rebecca O’Donnell, 49, who is charged with capital murder, abuse of corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of Sen. Linda Collins. She has pleaded not guilty. Collins’ decomposed body was found outside her Pocahontas home last June.
Trial date set for man charged in fatal Texarkana shooting
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — An August trial date is set for a man charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of another man in Texarkana. Court records show an August 24 trial date is set for 23-year-old Jucquian Martez Tyson while a pretrial hearing is scheduled the same day for 23-year-old co-defendant Keanu White. The Texarkana Gazette reports that prosecutors say the two fatally shot Phillip Lee during an attempted robbery in February. Both Tyson and White have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty in the case.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-INMATE RELEASE
Arkansas releases 300 inmates early as virus precaution
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas prison officials say 300 inmates have been released early from prison as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic. Dexter Payne, head of Arkansas’ correction division, said Thursday during court testimony that there will be additional releases once inmates are screened and cleared by the Parole Board. A spokesman for the prison system told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the releases came after Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s April 20 directive to consider the early release of inmates imprisoned for nonviolent and nonsexual crimes.
Man suspected in Minnesota killing arrested in Arkansas