BY MELANIE BUCK –
Billy Vaught, age 50, of Mena pled no contest to Sexual Assault in the 4th Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor, in Polk County Circuit Court on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. Vaught was accused of engaging in sexual contact with another person, who was not his spouse, who was less than sixteen (16) years of age. The plea was a bargain that kept Vaught from facing trial on the original charge of Sexual Assault in the 2nd Degree, a Class B Felony.
Under part of the conditions of Vaught’s plea bargain, he will face supervised probation for a period of twelve months, pay a $500 fine plus court costs and fees, and also must register as a sex offender.
Judge Ted Capeheart presided over the case and accepted the recommendations from the state’s Special Prosecutor, Jason Barrett, for the court to accept the plea. Vaught’s attorney presented and accepted the plea on his behalf. Barrett was appointed to the case due to Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner trying the case where Vaught was the victim.
In November 2013, Vaught was shot in his home and Lori Rose was convicted of the crime in November 2014. Jurors found Rose guilty of Aggravated Residential Burglary, Aggravated Assault, Domestic Battery (2nd Degree), and Terroristic Threatening (2nd Degree) by a Polk County jury and sentenced to 36-years. Rose and Vaught, who had been romantically involved, were estranged at the time of the incident.
Vaught testified during the trial that he kicked the gun causing it to go off, striking him in the leg. Rose’s family has maintained that Vaught’s actions earlier in the day, of which a police report was filed involving a 13-year old minor family member of Rose’s, triggered her confrontation of Vaught. That police report is also what led to Vaught’s subsequent arrest and no contest plea in the current case.
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