BY LEANN DILBECK –
A 28-year old Mena man was convicted today by a Polk County jury and sentenced to multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Daniel L. Stover faced a jury of his peers today on multiple charges including 1-count of Rape, 2-counts of 1st Degree Sexual Assault, 1-count of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault and 1-count of Sexual Grooming of a Minor, following a thorough investigation by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for the 18th West Judicial District. Elena Cannon was the lead investigator.
Stover was already serving a five-year sentence in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for Sexual Assault in the 1st Degree. The minor victim in that case was a relative and resulted in a pregnancy.
Because of the heinous allegations involved in the latest charges, the judge had ordered the case sealed until trial. Among the evidence presented by the State, jurors heard a recorded confession from Stover of the actions he subsequently was charged with, of which, he recanted at trial today.
After hearing disturbing testimony throughout the day Thursday, jurors ultimately returned with a guilty verdict just after 6 p.m. and followed with sentencing on each of the charges, which was imposed by Judge Jerry Ryan that included 6 years, 20 years, and three life sentences, one without the possibility of parole, all to run consecutively. Because Stover had a prior 1st Degree Sexual Assault conviction, the law allows for a judge to impose a life sentence.
Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner said today’s sentencing was the harshest he has seen in all of his 16 years of practicing law, commenting, “It was deserved.” He commended the diligence of Elena Cannon that led to today’s conviction.