My Pulse News

Mena, Arkansas, News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Tyler Crider sentenced to 59 years

By Ethan Nahté

[CORRECTION: The following article differs from the article which appeared in the June 14, 2023, edition of the Polk County Pulse. The original version mistakenly included facts irrelevant to the Tyler Crider trial that occurred June 8 and June 9. The revised article is accurate regarding the events and outcome of the trial that concluded June 9. Our apologies for the confusion.]

Tyler Dane Crider, 31, of Mena, Arkansas was sentenced to 59 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on June 10, 2023. He was booked at 12:05 a.m. on June 10. Crider was found guilty by a jury and sentenced on one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.

Debra Buschman, 18th West Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney for Polk and Montgomery Counties, announced, “… late yesterday, June 9, 2023, a jury found Tyler Dane Crider, 31 of Mena, guilty of rape and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree. The jury deliberated for almost four hours before returning the guilty verdict.”

Crider, who was over the age of 18 at the time of the alleged incidents, was accused engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person who was less than 14 years of age, constituting a Class “Y” Felony. A Class “Y” Felony is the most serious non-capital charge which one can receive in Arkansas. If convicted, the prison sentence can range from 10 to 40 years.

He was also accused of two counts of engaging in sexual contact with another person who was less than 14 years of age and not his spouse, constituting a Class “B’ Felony, which can result in a five to 20 years sentence and a fine up to $15,000 if convicted.

Crider waived his arraignment, having his attorney Brent A. Miller of the Miller Law Firm in Hot Springs enter a “not guilty” plea to the charges.

Buschman stated, “Crider was accused of raping and sexually assaulting two children. The victims bravely testified at trial.

I am grateful to the jury for their service and dedication in this case. They spent two long days hearing testimony that was traumatic and difficult to hear. They remained steadfast and deliberated, without dinner, for four hours. They were discharged by the Court at two minutes until midnight on June 9th.”

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer posted on Facebook, “We just finished up a two-day jury trial at midnight tonight. It’s been a long couple of days and I’m running on empty. I’d like to thank all of my guys, our Judge Andy Riner and his staff, and Prosecutor Debra Buschman and Robert Pressley and their staff for their hard work. Our jurors gave us two long days listening to some graphic testimony and reached what I believe was the correct verdict and an appropriate sentence. Many people try to get out of jury duty but you all stepped up and performed a great service for your community. And to the two special young ladies… I’d like to say thank you for your courage and grace.”

Buschman also said, “The victims in this case showed tremendous courage in coming forward and testifying. Because of their bravery, Crider will be unable to harm other children for the foreseeable future. My heart and prayers are with them as they grow into the young women God made them to be.” 

According to Buschman’s statement, the Court, upon recommendation of the jury, sentenced Crider to a total of 59 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. He will be eligible for parole in 28.5 years. 

Buschman was uncertain if Crider will appeal but based on previous experience with other cases like this, she said she would expect him to. 

Many people were involved in the investigation, arrest and the prosecution of this case. Buschman stated, “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case with precision and integrity. The Sheriff’s Chief Deputy, Randy Jewell, made this case. There are places where these kinds of tough cases are not a priority, but Sheriff Scott Sawyer makes sure Polk County is not one of them. 

“Elena Cannon, a fierce and devoted champion of justice for children, investigated on behalf of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She was invaluable in preparing this case for trial and I am indebted to her for all she has done, not only in this case, but also in the many child abuse cases that preceded it. 

“Robert Presley, the Chief Deputy Prosecuting attorney, was co-counsel for the State. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a gifted trial attorney, and a staunch advocate for the truth. His skill and expertise were essential in securing this guilty verdict. But above all, I credit God for His love of justice and for enabling me to do the hard work I love — fighting for those who cannot protect themselves.”

Buschman finished by stating, “I am grateful every day He lets me do this job. To God be all the Glory.”

Pending trial

The following information is regarding a different trial that is still pending:

A warrant was issued for Crider’s arrest in this case on Jan. 19, 2023. The warrant was served Feb. 13.

The criminal information page on AOC Court Connect reports the filing date for the current

charges against Crider was Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. Both Count I: rape and Count II: sexual assault in the second degree, were said to have occurred on or between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 24, 2020.

A motion by Brent Miller, Crider’s attorney of record, to bar prosecution on Res Judicata was made to prohibit and bar the Court from the re-litigation of the issue of whether Crider engaged in sexual contact with S.C. based upon the due process clause and res judicata.

According, in part, to the motion:

  1. Defendant is charged with Rape.
  2. The allegation involves incidents from 2 ½ years ago.
  3. The allegation by alleged victim, S.C. was made known to authorities on July 23rd, 2020.
  4. The investigation ceased and the file was sent for revie to the prosecutor’s office on October 15th, 2020. No charges were filed at that time.
  5. On or about May 3rd, 2021, a hearing was held at the Office of Appeals and Hearings, Judge Sheila McDaniel presiding. Investigator Alissa Gordon was present, as was the Defendant. Inv. Gorden introduced the State’s investigative file as well as the DVD of the C.A.C. interview of S.C. into the record. The Defendant testified on his behalf. The Hearing resulted in a finding that there was insufficient evidence to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that this same allegation was true. The allegation was unsubstantiated. No appeal was made by DHS. The CHRIS # is 204256 and the appeal by Mr. Crider that overturned the DHS true finding is Case #20006400.
  6. In January of 2023, an affidavit for arrest warrant based upon the same allegation of S.C against the Defendant was filed in Polk County Circuit Court. Defendant was then arrested based upon the same information known by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the 18th-West Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office, 2 ½ years prior.

Citing facts based on the hearing from 2021, the State’s response explained in paragraph nine that the criminal case against the defendant, Crider, was not a re-litigation.

Crider was arraigned March 15. A pre-trial hearing was ordered for Apr. 12.

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