Deputy fired, charged with raping inmate

A Pulaski County sheriff’s office deputy was fired and charged with the rape of an inmate inside a basement holding cell at the county courthouse after the inmate produced a DNA sample she kept on the inside of her bra, sheriff’s office documents obtained Friday show.

Willie Lee Owens, 39, of Conway, had been a Pulaski County deputy for more than three years when on Dec. 18 he told a 26-yearold female inmate she might be needed back in court after a hearing during which she received three years’ probation after pleading guilty to criminal attempt to obtain prescription drugs by fraud, the records show. When another deputy arrived to pick up inmates who were supposed to return to the Pulaski County jail, Owens told the deputy to leave her behind, the records said.

Earlier in the day, Owens had given the inmate a cigarette and let her twice use the phone when she felt sick, the records show. During the first phone call, Owens grabbed her breast, she told investigators, but she didn’t say anything to him or tell anyone else at the time.

In the basement of the Pulaski County Courthouse after her hearing, Owens told her to go into a cell with a bench, the records show. She tried to close the door, she told investigators, but it wouldn’t lock. Owens went into the cell, started to talk to her and then grabbed her, she told investigators.

A sheriff’s office investigator asked the woman in an official interview to describe what Owens said to her.

“She replied that he began to ask her what her and her roommate did at night (regarding sexual activity),” according to an arrest warrant affidavit dated Jan. 15. “[She] advised that Dep. Owens came over to her and told her to stand up and bend over the bench.”

The woman told the investigators she was scared, so she did what Owens told her to do, according to the affidavit.

Then Owens pulled down her jail jumpsuit and had sex with her. She told investigators that when Owens left the cell to get a napkin with soap on it for her to clean up, she took the opportunity to wipe some semen on the inside of her bra for evidence.

“She washed her face and Dep. Owens took the napkin,” according to the affidavit.

The woman did not come forward until four days later, the documents show.

“[She] advised that she did not tell anyone out of fear that she would be harmed,” according to the affidavit.

After thinking about it, she told investigators, she felt she needed to come forward before losing the DNA evidence.

The sheriff ‘s office placed Owens on administrative leave with pay Dec. 29.

During an interview with investigators, Owens denied “any sexual contact” with the woman, records show. He consented to four oral swabs to collect DNA samples.

His DNA and the inmate’s bra went to the state Crime Laboratory for analysis.

“The crime lab confirmed with scientific certainty that the swabs submitted by Dep. Owens and the samples taken from the bra were the same,” according to the affidavit.

On Jan. 16, a sheriff’s office investigator arrested Owens on one count of rape – a Class Y felony carrying a minimum 10-year prison sentence on conviction.

Sheriff Doc Holladay and Chief of Detention Randy Morgan fired Owens on Jan. 21 after an administrative hearing.

Owens pleaded innocent to the rape charge Jan. 20 in Pulaski County District Court. His $200,000 bail was reduced to $50,000 two days later. He posted bond the same day. Attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful.


2 Responses

  1. sounds like a set up to me. this woman had this all planned. he should not have had sex with her, but it’s not rape

  2. In a nation wherein “In GOD We Trust” has become a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed, corruption and wickedness exist on both sides of the badge and the bars. Yet, are they bad men just because they made some bad choices? Do not all of us have A’s and F’s on our moral report cards? As I so stated on my blog, we can’t fix it IF we can’t face it. I dare anyone who wants to fix their F’s to read that textbook in sex education and then to trust in GOD…and that’s my final answer!

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