BY MELANIE BUCK & LEANN DILBECK –
Dr. David Van Winkle, a former dentist from Mena, has now exhausted all of his legal options when he was denied his appeal by Judge Philip T. Whiteaker of the Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. Through the appeals process, Van Winkle ‘contended that there was insufficient evidence to support four of the convictions.’
The four convictions contested were Kidnapping, First-Degree Stalking, Third-Degree Battery, and Aggravated Residential Burglary. In the official appeal, Judge Whiteaker said, “There is no merit to Van Winkle’s argument.”
On the charge of kidnapping, Van Winkle conceded that there was sufficient evidence that he restrained the victim but asserts that there was insufficient evidence of his intent or purpose in doing so. He suggested that the jury had to speculate or guess at why he restrained her.
In his third point on the appeal regarding the Third-Degree Battery conviction, Van Winkle challenged the victim’s credibility and Whiteaker affirmed that there was substantial evidence to support the charge.
In his final point of appeal, Van Winkle changed from the directed verdict entered at trial and argued for the first time that there was no evidence of what he intended to with or to the victim.
The original charges and sentence were 40 years on the charge of Aggravated Residential Burglary; 12 years on the same charge for Possessing a Firearm in the act and law dictates must be served consecutively, meaning a total of 52 years; 13 years on the charge of Kidnapping; 5 years on the charge of Stalking; 3 years on the charge of Terroristic Threatening; as well as $2,500 fine on each misdemeanor charge of Battery and Assault. The Kidnapping, Stalking, and Terroristic Threatening sentences are to be served in concurrence with the 52 years.
Van Winkle was entered into the Arkansas Department of Corrections following the trial in October 2013, where he remains.