Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

TOP STORY >>Defendants showing stress at trial

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

The defense is expected to continue cross-examination Wednesday of Kelly Campbell’s alleged inmate lover, who testified Monday that he lied to her at every turn, and early on to investigators and officials as well.

The corruption, drug, theft and sex trial of Kelly Campbell, her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, and bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox was in recess Tuesday because the Cabot courtroom was previously committed and court will be held across the hall in Cabot City Council chambers Wednesday and Thursday for the same reason.

Granted immunity, inmate Anthony Shane Scott, 31, had testified last Wednesday afternoon for Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain that he had sex with Kelly Campbell numerous times in several places, including her husband’s office, the city park and a motel, and that her obsession with him became a distraction not only to him, but to city officials, police employees and townsfolk.

When court resumed Monday after a four-day recess, Scott continued, weaving a tale of sex, drugs and her infatuation that resulted first in the unraveling of Lonoke’s Act 309 prison trustee program, then to the State Police investigation that culminated in charges against the three.

Also charged, but to be tried separately are former Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett, former dispatcher Amy Staley and bail bondsman Larry Norwood.

Privett is charged with having Act 309 inmates do some work around his house, Staley with having sex with Scott, and Norwood with conspiring with Cox and Jay Campbell to manufacture methamphetamine.

Scott was returned to the state Correction Department by Campbell’s second-in-command, Sean O’Nale in July 2005, and Kelly Campbell drove immediately to the Diagnostic Center at Pine Bluff, trying to bluff and bully her way in the front gate to visit with Scott. She drew great attention to herself and Scott was placed in solitary confinement as a result, he testified.
“She’s the reason I’m in trouble,” Scott told Mark Hampton, her attorney.

Scott said he believed O’Nale suddenly returned him to the prison on Jay Campbell’s orders to stop her relationship with Scott.

Scott testified that he threatened to stop writing and talking with her unless she got him some incriminating evidence with Jay Campbell’s DNA on it.

Among the more than 200 exhibits introduced so far is a drinking straw with her DNA, almost certainly his DNA, and reportedly, residue of methamphetamine.

“You were never in love with her?” asked Jay Campbell’s lawyer, Patrick Benca.

“No,” said Scott. “You strung her along?”

“That would be right,” said Scott.“On the phone, you professed love and said you wanted her to divorce Mr. Campbell,” said Benca. “All kinds of stuff,” said Scott.

Scott said that he began cooperating with prison officials when they began building a case against Jay Campbell. They started tape recording telephone conversations between Kelly Campbell and Scott and intercepting letters and cards when they began the investigation. Jay Campbell is charged with running a continuing criminal enterprise while Kelly Campbell and Cox are charged with participating in the enterprise. Such a charge not only carries its own penalties, but also can increase the sentencing and penalty range of the crimes committed under its umbrella.

The Campbells also face numerous charges of borrowing and stealing prescription painkillers from friends and acquaintances.

Jay Campbell, Cox and Norwood are also charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine in a far-flung scheme to find a bail jumper who left the bondsmen holding the bag for $130,000.

During cross examination on Monday, Hampton quizzed Scott on lies he had told her, lies he told various investigators during half-a-dozen interviews, and what Hampton called lies by omission, painting Scott before the jury as a liar at every opportunity.

Special Judge John Cole at one point limited the defense to asking Scott questions that could be answered “yes” or “no” after some of Scott’s answers threatened to veer into territory that could cause a mistrial. Hampton asked Scott if he had been promised immunity by the prosecution.

“Yes.”
Did he lie to Kelly Campbell about her other alleged inmate lover, Tim Ainsworth?
“Yes.”
Did he lie to her about his family life growing up?
“Yes.”
Did he lie to Act 309 trustee program director Bill Terry?
“Yes.”

Question after question, Hampton asked Scott whether he had lied or even mentioned various statements and allegations, chalking each lie up in red on a big white poster board labeled “Shane Scott, Full Immunity.”

Hampton wants to convince jurors that Scott is unreliable and that many features of his testimony—that Kelly Campbell got him a bottle of urine flush to clear his system of drugs prior to a possible urinalysis, gave him at least $200, or that she shared methamphetamine and ecstasy with him—may have been invented to please the prosecutor and keep himself out of trouble.

Also during cross examination, Benca asked Scott if he had ever seen the former chief either with drugs or taking them. Scott, who testified earlier that he suspected Campbell sometimes took drugs, said he neither saw Campbell use or with drugs. By playing recorded conversations for the jury, Benca sought to convince jurors that Jay Campbell didn’t know his wife’s relationship with Scott was sexual.

He elicited responses that the former chief was fair with inmates, tried to help them, and that he was a good father. Scott said he and Jay Campbell had talked a few times about the relationship, but that neither had acknowledged that it was sexual in nature.