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Prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges against Centerton woman

by Tracy Neal | May 16, 2017 at 1:00 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- A Centerton woman will not face criminal charges for pointing a gun at a teen who she said was abusing a neighbor's dog last month.

Kerrie Lenkerd, 40, was arrested in connection with aggravated assault, a felony punishable with up to six years in prison. She was released from custody after she posted a $5,000 bond.

Prosecutors decided Monday not to pursue the case. The teen didn't want to pursue charges, and law enforcement didn't object to the decision, according to court documents.

"After reviewing the investigative file, I determined that Mrs. Lenkerd's conduct did not warrant prosecution," said Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor. "An important factor in my determination was that the victim's family did not wish to pursue criminal charges."

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green signed an order Monday granting the prosecutors' request and canceled Lenkerd's June 5 arraignment.

"She was justified in her actions," said Shane Wilkinson, Lenkerd's attorney. "There's a difference between pointing a gun at someone who is abusing a dog. We are glad the Prosecutor's Office made the right decision."

Wilkinson said Lenkerd still faces charges in Centerton District Court. "We hope that they make the same decision," Wilkinson said.

Lenkerd told Centerton police April 17 she saw the teen assaulting her neighbor's dog, according to the affidavit. Lenkerd said she retrieved the gun from a safe and confronted the boy.

She said the teen ran away, and she fired the gun into the grass to scare him, according to court documents. She called police and retrieved an iPad the 14-year-old left as proof she had seen him, according to court documents.

Police officers found a spent shell casing where Lenkerd said she fired the gun, and police seized a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, according to court documents.

Lenkerd had supporters who went online to help her. A petition to Smith was started on Change.org. The petition requested the criminal case be dropped. It had 1,475 supporters as of Monday, according to Change.org.

"I think the case really struck a chord with people, and the vast majority of people simply felt like she was doing the right thing by attempting to stop the abuse of a dog," Wilkinson said.

NW News on 05/16/2017

Print Headline: Prosecutors will not pursue charges against Centerton woman

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