Leader Blues

Friday, November 27, 2009

TOP STORY >> Four high-profile cases pending

Leader staff writer

In recent months, The Leader has reported on several criminal and civil cases that have not yet gone to trial. Here is an update of some of those cases:

George Wylie Thompson, 64, is the Cabot man who was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, about two weeks ago on federal charges, including bookmaking, distribution of illegal drugs and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an alleged kickback scheme involving a North Little Rock alderman and a private contractor.

He is en route from California, where he was taken after his arrest. He is being escorted by federal marshals and is expected in Arkansas within two weeks.

Pat Harris, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Little Rock, said Tuesday that Thompson will be housed in one of several jails in the state that accept federal prisoners: Pulaski County, Sheridan, Conway, For-dyce, Pine Bluff or Clinton.

Since Thompson was in Thailand when he was arrested, he will not be set free on bond, Harris said.

Alderman Cary Gaines resigned from the North Little Rock City Council last week. The contractor who was also involved in the alleged schemes to get a city concrete job and bypass the bidding process on a landscaping job for the purpose of earning money to pay gambling debts owed to Thompson has not been identified.

Jane W. Duke, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said in a news release when Thompson was arrested that more arrests could follow.

Christopher S. Clark, 43, who was arrested less than three weeks ago after his father, Billy Joe Clark, 75, 305 N. Hickory Street, Beebe, was found murdered in his home, is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, in Searcy.

The son, who was living in McRae when he was arrested, was estranged from his wife who lives in Beebe.

Prosecutor Chris Raff has told police to give no details about the crime. However, reliable sources outside the police department allege that Clark first beat and then stabbed his father to death Saturday, Nov. 7, following an argument over money. The elder Clark’s body was found Sunday, Nov. 8.

Raff said soon after Clark was arrested that he would be charged with capital murder because the evidence showed premeditation.

The murder of Billy Joe Clark is the second in Beebe in seven months. Before that, it had been 15 years since the last murder.

Jeffrey T. Likes, 40, pleaded guilty in September to the murder of his mother, Nancy Wiggs, 59. He is serving life in prison without possibility of parole. Likes was angry with his mother over money and the use of her car, police said after he was sentenced.

Roger Lemaster, 54, a Cabot businessman who was also voted 2008 man of the year for the Lonoke County Republican Committee has pleaded not guilty to rape. His case is scheduled for pretrial Monday, Dec. 21 in Lonoke Circuit Court.

Lemaster’s alleged victim is a minor.

Lemaster, married to former Cabot Alderman Becky Lemaster, was arrested Sept. 21 and released from the county jail Sept. 22 on a $50,000 bond. Court records show he filed for divorce that same day on the grounds of general indignities.

The couple operated RC Auto Detailing at 123 N. Second Street, near city hall. Lemaster is the father of Kenneth Lemaster, 31, who was found guilty in October 2007 of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault in the second degree and is currently serving a 23-year sentence in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Kenneth Lemasters’ victims were minors.