Leader Blues

Monday, March 19, 2007

TOP STORY >>Campbell trial: no sordid detail left out

IN SHORT: Mistrial is denied, inmate-lover will continue testimony Monday in Lonoke County trial of former city police chief, his wife and a bail bondsman.

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Special Judge John Cole denied a defense motion for a mistrial Wednesday and Kelly Campbell’s alleged inmate-lover is expected to resume testimony Monday as the corruption, drug and theft trial of Campbell, her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, and bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox enters the fourth week at Cabot.

Court was in recess from Wednesday afternoon until Monday morning because Cox’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, president-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is at the annual meeting in Chicago.

Court may also be in recess Tuesday owing to a conflict over the courtroom.

Among the state’s evidence is a short drinking straw reported to have residue of methamphetamine and also the DNA of Kelly Campbell and probably of Jay Campbell on it.

Kelly Campbell had allegedly given the straw to Anthony Shane Scott, the former inmate-lover, so that he would have leverage on Jay Campbell should he need it.

But Jay Campbell’s attorney, Patrick Benca, thought Cole had ruled previously that Scott could not say where he got the straw.
When Scott said of the straw, “I got it from Kelly,” Benca shot to his feet, seeking the mistrial. Prosecutor Lona McCastlain “keeps leading the witness,” said Benca. “This is extremely prejudicial to my client and she got it in testimony.”

Jay Campbell is not charged with using drugs, but he is charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine with Cox and his fellow bail bondsman, Larry Nor-wood.

The prosecution alleges that the meth was manufactured as part of a convoluted scheme to force one man to reveal the whereabouts of another man who jumped bail, leaving the bondsmen holding the bag for $130,000.

Scott, 32, a state Act 309 inmate trustee assigned to the Lonoke City Jail from June through January 2005, is the second inmate to testify before a jury of six men and six women that he had sexual intercourse with Kelly Campbell in several locations including her husband’s office, the city ball park, at the Campbell home and at a local motel.

Scott testified that at the motel, he and Kelly Campbell took Ecstasy, another drug, probably methamphetamine, drank beer and had a lot of sex.

Scott, granted immunity for his testimony, was sentenced to an additional 90 days for contempt of court Tuesday for refusal to testify, but facing a new contempt charge and another 90 days apparently had a change of heart Wednesday morning. Excluding the contempt charge, Scott, who is serving a 20-year-sentence for robbery out of Mississippi County, is eligible for parole after August 2008.

The Campbells between them are charged with about 70 crimes. Jay Campbell is charged with running a continuing criminal enterprise and his wife and Cox are charged with being participants in that enterprise.

So far, the state’s witnesses have included not only the two inmates who say Kelly Campbell had sex with a total of perhaps two dozen times and provided them with contraband including alcohol, drugs and cell phones, but also a dozen or more former friends who testified that the Campbells either borrowed prescription drugs from them or stole them, local pharmacists, and police department personnel who testified about Kelly Campbell’s unwarranted access to the jail and prisoners.

Also testifying are members of a Lonoke methamphetamine ring, one of whom says $15,000 he had when busted was never returned and never mentioned as seized.

Donna Moore, a former family friend, identified some stolen jewelry as hers and law enforcement officials testified that they found that jewelry when they arrested the Campbells and executed a search warrant at their home and car.