A Faulkner County man accused of asking a close, underage family member for sexual favors was ordered Friday to remain behind bars until his jury trial for reportedly violating a no contact order.
James Robert Samples, 48, of Guy was formally charged in January 2019 with one count of sexual indecency with a minor, a Class D felony, following a months-long investigation.
The Faulkner County man was subsequently accused of violating a no contact order in late-November. A bond revocation hearing regarding the allegations was held Friday morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court, where Samples was ultimately ordered to remain behind bars until his February trial.
Deputy prosecutor Cortney Kennedy said the revocation was filed against Samples because he attempted to contact the victim via “a third party.”
During the revocation hearing, Samples admitted to reaching out to his wife about a possible plea deal that would involve him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony. However, his attorney, Debra Joan Cheatham Reece, said this conversation was meant to stay between Samples and his wife.
Reece said the “he said, she said” allegations did not amount to putting the Faulkner County man behind bars, adding that he’s been in the county jail on the no contact order violation warrant since “before Christmas.”
“Conversations can get misconstrued,” she said
According to his statement, Samples admitted to talking to his wife about the case and said that if the victim in the case did not agree to have him plead guilty to a misdemeanor, the case would go to trial. Should the case go to trial, it would not be good for the girl.
Samples said he did not mean for this to seem like a threat and that he also did not intend for his wife to go to the victim’s mother and talk about the potential deal.
Kennedy argued in favor of having Samples’ bond revoked because the no contact order “clearly” bars the suspect from communicating “with the victim or her immediate family.”
Circuit Judge Troy B. Braswell Jr. ruled in Kennedy’s favor and ordered Samples to remain behind bars until his upcoming trial.
The case against Samples stems from an investigation that began in May 2018.
Guy Police Chief Chris Humphrey was contacted about the ongoing investigation by an Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children investigator in 2018. According to the probable cause affidavit filed against Samples, the Child Advocacy Alliance interviewed the alleged victim on May 7, 2018, and a copy of the interview was sent over to Humphrey.
According to statements made by the juvenile to CAC Forensic Investigator Lisa Johnston, the suspect “has approached her multiple times and asked her to perform oral sex on him while he performs oral sex on her.”
The girl told officials Samples “has never made any inappropriate physical contact with her” but that “she is afraid that he is going to act on these requests,” adding that “he has asked her this on four separate occasions,” the affidavit states.
Samples reportedly agreed on June 11, 2018, to speak with Humphrey at the Guy Police Department. When he arrived at the small-town department, he was accompanied by two adult females, according to the affidavit.
After being informed he was free to leave at any point during questioning, Samples reportedly agreed to talk with Humphrey as long as the two women who arrived with him were also present during his interview.
“While speaking with him, he stated that he was aware of the allegation against him and that it was false. He stated that it did not occur,” Humphrey wrote in his report. “Both females present stated they had not witnessed any inappropriate behavior either. [One woman] added that she believes [the girl] has an active imagination and feels this is from that.”
Samples declined participating in a computer voice stress analyzer test but did fill out a voluntary statement, according to the affidavit.
A two-day jury trial regarding the aforementioned case is scheduled to begin Feb. 20 in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.