BY MELANIE BUCK –
Special Circuit Judge Ted Capeheart ruled last week to deny Lori Rose’s argument of ‘ineffective counsel’ that was made in a June 2016 relief hearing in an effort to receive a new trial or a lesser sentence. Rose was convicted and sentenced in October 2014 to 36 years on charges of Aggravated Residential Burglary, Aggravated Assault, Domestic Battery (2nd Degree), and Terroristic Threatening (2nd Degree) for the shooting of Billy Vaught in his home in November 2013.
The relief hearing was the latest step in Rose’s attempts to have her case reheard or to receive a lesser sentence. She lost one attempt in October 2015 in the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Rose’s new attorney is Ernie Witt, of Witt Law Firm in Ozark, Ark., argued in Polk County Circuit Court in June that Rose suffered ineffective assistance of counsel during her original trial when she was represented by Greg Klebanoff of Fayetteville. At the end of the relief hearing, Judge Capeheart requested more information from both the prosecutor and defense counsel, such as the minimum requirements of jury selection, before he was to make his ruling, and gave each three weeks to come up with his requirements. After long deliberations, Judge Capeheart ruled that Rose did receive effective counsel.
Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner said, “It is extremely difficult to have a jury’s verdict overturned because of alleged attorney error, and this case was not a close call in my opinion.”