A circuit judge on Wednesday denied a rape suspect’s request to exclude a portion of a statement the Conway man previously made to sheriff’s deputies from evidence that will be presented before a jury later this year.
Following a motion hearing held Monday in Faulkner County Circuit Court regarding the motion in limine filed by Frankie Paul Arnold III’s defense counsel, Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson Jr. formally ruled against the request on Wednesday.
Attorney Jack T. Lassiter requested the court strike a portion of the interview between his client and Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigators when playing the recorded interview before a jury later this year.
Arnold was questioned by investigators on Aug. 30, 2017, regarding an incident that allegedly occurred in December 2012. The Conway man reportedly admitted he’d been drinking on the night in question and said “his memory that night was fuzzy.”
Records show Arnold denied the rape allegations against him at first but also said “I assume I did it.”
When asked if he inappropriately touched the alleged victim, who was 14 years old when she reportedly was raped, Arnold said he was not sure and that he “might have … just don’t remember.”
Lassiter argued “these responses are neither admissions nor relevant to the matter at issue. In both instances, Mr. Arnold replied that he could not recall doing that which hew as accused of. Further, if the Court finds some probative value and relevance to the remarks, Mr. Arnold, asserts that any probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues and the danger of misleading the jury.”
Senior deputy prosecutor John Hout said the probative value behind the statements was relevant to the matter and did not bring any “unfair prejudice” to the case against Arnold.
“The probative value of the defendant’s confession is not only extremely substantial; it is critical to the state’s case,” Hout said in response filed following Monday’s hearing.
Clawson ruled against the Arnold’s request to suppress portions of his 2017 confession.
“While Mr. Lassiter makes an interesting argument that certain portions of the statements should be deleted or edited, the Court cannot accept that hypothesis,” Clawson wrote in his order. “Once statements are edited, modified, changed there would be no way for the jury to know that the portion of the statement offered into evidence may or may not have effected by something that is deleted by the Court on motion.
“Therefore, the defendant’s motion for limine should be and is hereby denied.”
Arnold is accused of raping a close family member on Dec. 25, 2012.
The alleged victim stayed the night with Arnold on the night in question because the power at her grandmother’s house went out, according to a probable cause affidavit. Arnold reportedly asked the girl and her sister to come over and play cards since their power was off. While at Arnold’s house, the alleged victim said the then-26-year-old gave her alcohol. When she woke up, the girl said she was wearing someone else’s clothes and had no clue where her clothes were.
Arnold is currently scheduled to stand trial Aug. 14 and 15.