• Dennis McCaslin

Kidnapping charge reduced to Fales Imprisonment to facilitate plea deal in March arrest

Rex Cole Steward Jr

A 27-year-old Fort Smith man who faced Kidnapping and Theft of Property charges stemming from a March 21 crime drew six years imposed with fourteen years suspended after a modified plea deal Friday morning in Sebastian County Circuit Court.

Rex Cole Steward Jr., who has felony convictions back to 2015 that has resulted in no prison time according to Arkansas Court Connect records, was sentenced as a habitual offender although previous convictions had only resulted in suspended sentences or probation to date.

The victim in the case consented to a modified plea in the deal and Steward saw the Kidnapping charged downgraded to First Degree False Imprisonment, which is only a Class C felony. Kidnapping is a Y Felony and has much stiffer penalty possibilities.

Steward was arrested and found guilty via a plea deal in 2015 on Possession of Controlled Substances and Paraphernalia charges, which also triggered a pair of parole revocations at that time. He received a 72 month suspended imposition of sentence and the parole revocations were dismissed.

Similarly, in March of 2019 Steward was arrested for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine in Crawford County after an undercover officer purchased $120 of controlled substances from him. Despite the fact he was still within the time frame of his suspended sentence for his 2015 arrest. Steward was allowed to plea once again and received another suspended sentence of ten years.

Although the victim approved of the disposition of the case in Friday's pleas deal, Steward was ordered to have no contact with her in the future. Restitution will be determined at a later date and he will also be forced to pay court costs at $60 per month once he is released.

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