A Tennessee woman plans to enter a negotiated plea for her alleged involvement in the October 2018 stabbing outside of 10Box Cost-Plus.
LaTonya Kellem, 41, of Nashville, Tennessee, was charged with four felony charges – attempted capital murder, first-degree battery and two counts of third-degree battery – after she reportedly drove to Faulkner County and stabbed a Conway woman on Oct. 14, 2018, outside the 10Box Cost-Plus on Harkrider Street.
Kellem was scheduled to stand trial next week. However, the Tennessee woman stood beside her attorney, Joe Don Winningham, when he announced on her behalf that she would soon enter a plea instead of going to trial.
The hearing began just before 9:40 a.m. Thursday in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
During the brief hearing, Winningham said his client planned to enter a plea with court officials but said she needed more time to do so, adding that she has three children.
The Tennessee woman has agreed to a 30-year prison sentence “based on the serious level of the offense,” the defense attorney said Thursday morning.
Deputy prosecutor Cortney Kennedy said she would agree to a 30-year negotiated plea and would be OK with giving the defendant more time before officially entering her plea.
Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson agreed to give Kellem four weeks and scheduled a plea entry hearing for June 4 in the Tennessee woman’s case.
Kellem is currently free on a $50,000 bond. Her attorney told court officials he did not believe she would be a flight risk, adding that she has attended all proceedings related to the criminal case against her.
According to court documents filed against Kellem, the Tennessee woman purposefully drove to Conway to harm the woman she believed her ex-boyfriend had started dating.
Officers who responded to the scene on Oct. 14, 2018, found out Kellem parked her vehicle at Conway Glass Tinting Inc. before walking over to the 10Box parking lot as she waited for the victim to leave the store, according to the felony information previously filed against the then-39-year-old woman.
Those who witnessed the incident said they saw Kellem pacing in the parking lot prior to the attack but “did not pay much attention to her” until they saw her chase after the victim.
Two men – Tony Mcanally, who was sitting out in his truck, and Jimmy Dodson, a local cab driver – “ran through the small crowd of people, who were filming [the attack] instead of helping,” and got the knife away from Kellem after she reportedly began attacking the victim with a hammer and a knife, according to reports.
The victim suffered several lacerations and was “bleeding profusely” following the attack.
One of the responding Conway Police Department officers drove the victim to a nearby hospital after she said she was “feeling light headed and very dizzy.”
“Upon my arrival, I observed [the victim] standing up, covered in blood. [The woman] was bleeding profusely, dripping blood from her onto the ground,” officer Jim Pfrenger wrote in his report. “Sergeant [Andrew] Burningham requested me to place [the woman] in the back of my vehicle due to her bleeding. While [the woman] was in the back of my vehicle, she requested to be taken to Conway Regional hospital. ... Due to how bad [the victim] was bleeding in the back of my vehicle, the ambulance not on scene, and due to not hearing any sirens, I informed dispatch I was responding code three [with lights and sirens] to take [the woman] to the hospital.”
According to the affidavit filed against Kellem, she admitted to police that she argued over the phone with the victim over her ex-boyfriend leaving her, left the casino she was at in Memphis and drove to the victim’s Conway home, argued with the victim in front of her residence and then followed her to 10Box.