WORLD NEWS – ARKANSAS : An Arkansas City man will face an arraignment next week on 11 child sex charges involving four females between 12 and 16 years old, according to the Cowley County attorney. Jerry Wayne Mills, 50, is scheduled for arraignment on the 11 charges at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Cowley County District Court in Arkansas City. Mills, who is presumed innocent at this stage, will enter a plea at that time. Mills had been charged with more offenses involving those alleged victims and three others.
But some counts against Mills were dismissed by Smith after Cowley County District Court Judge Jim Pringle delayed a ruling midway through a preliminary hearing in April. The ruling was delayed to consider a defense objection involving the statute of limitations.
Pringle closed the remaining portion of the April hearing to the press at the request of the prosecution. County Attorney Chris Smith told the judge that the other witnesses who were to testify would answer questions involving alleged crimes that occurred before January 2007.
Smith said Friday that he chose to dismiss those charges without prejudice, meaning he could bring them back to the court at a later time.”That was my decision, based on trial strategy. I didn’t want to run the risk of an adverse ruling at this stage,” Smith said. “I just want the opportunity to present the strongest case possible.”Smith said he will file a motion asking the judge to allow the prosecution to use evidence from those cases as evidence of “prior bad acts.”
“If I am allowed to, I would use that evidence at trial,” Smith said. “What that effectively would mean is I will not be bringing those charges.”But if the motion is denied and Smith is not allowed to use that evidence at trial, “then I still can bring those charges back if I so desire,” he said, “and that’s why it’s without prejudice.”
Mills was arrested Jan. 6 on child sex charges numbering in the hundreds. But when he first appeared before Pringle on Jan. 12, only 14 charges were read. However, they could result in 25 years to life in prison.