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In Arkansas town, police chief, wife, mayor face the courts

LONOKE, Ark. -- A small-town police chief resigned yesterday amid an investigation that has also led to accusations against his wife, the mayor, and two others.

City Council members accepted Chief Jay Campbell's resignation, after he was charged with conspiracy to make methamphetamine and to commit burglary.

Campbell's wife faces burglary charges and is accused in escape-related charges that say she got prisoners out of jail to have sex with them.

Mayor Thomas Privett has remained in office in the town of 4,300 east of Little Rock. He faces a misdemeanor count for allegedly using state prisoners to do work, including fixing his air conditioner and hanging Christmas lights.

''I've got a city to run, and a business to run, and that's what I intend to concentrate on," Privett told reporters after last evening's meeting, indicating that he would stay on as mayor.

The two other men are charged with conspiring with the police chief to make methamphetamine to entrap another man.

One also faces charges that he had threatened a witness.

Council member Richard Bransford said townspeople are angry. ''Everybody's upset, everybody that cares," he said.

''We've just got a tough time ahead of us right now," said the assistant police chief, Sean O'Nale, who is serving as interim chief.

The chief and his wife, the mayor, and two bail bondsmen were arrested Monday and freed on bail.

Prosecutor Lona McCastlain dismissed criticism that the investigation had been politically motivated, and said: ''This investigation is ongoing, and the state has not ruled out that there may be additional charges filed and that there may be additional suspects," McCastlain said.

Campbell and his wife, Kelly Harrison Campbell, allegedly stole antique jewelry from a house.

The chief also is accused with the bail bondsmen of taking part in a conspiracy to make methamphetamine and use it to frame someone.

Kelly Campbell faces charges related to escape, allegedly for taking two inmates out of the jail to have sex with her. She also is charged with residential burglary, theft, and taking prohibited items into a jail.

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