Michael Stewart had previous child molestation charges in Oklahoma
A Clark County jury on Tuesday found an Okolona man guilty of raping a young girl and sentenced him to 60 years in prison.
Michael Landon Stewart, 53, is expected to spend the rest of his days behind bars following the jury’s decision. Stewart’s arrest followed a 2021 investigation of a report that he committed sex acts on the juvenile who, according to court documents, relayed that he showed her pornography on his phone prior to the acts.
The jury of five men and seven women took about an hour to return the verdict after a two-day jury trial. Following the verdict, the jury recommended a sentence of 60 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner and deputy Prosecutor Gina White represented the state in the case. Malvern attorney Louis Loyd represented Stewart.
The case involved a January, 2021 report against Stewart made by a minor family member. The child was interviewed at the Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center and made disclosures of multiple occasions of sexual assault committed against her by Stewart. Following this forensic interview, the file was investigated by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the Arkansas State Police.
“This case was the result of the hard work and dedication of a lot of people but none more so than Gina White,” Turner said following the verdict. “Gina did an amazing job of preparing this matter for trial and her compassion in representing and advocating for this young victim was evident in the verdict returned today.” Turner added: “I can’t think of a more appropriate time of the year to express my thankfulness for the dedication of the many men and women at our Child Safety Center and in our local law enforcement community who work daily to help serve our children and prosecute offenders.”
Following the trial, Turner also praised the efforts of Detective Sherry Cleek of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and Special Agent Corwin Battle of the Arkansas State Police for their efforts in the investigation and trial. In addition to the minor victim and her parents, prosecutors also presented testimony from Becky Freeman and Christa Neal concerning services provided by the Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center during the investigation.
“These are terrible cases and are incredibly traumatic for children and their families,” White said. “We are fortunate to have so many people in our community who care for children and devote their talent and energy to pursuing justice for victims of child sex offenses.”
Stewart was previously convicted of two counts of lewd molestation with a child in Johnson County, Oklahoma, in 2003. Stewart had also been convicted of felonies of possession of firearms by certain persons and violation of the Arkansas hot check law in 2004 and 2005, respectively, in Clark County. Stewart was convicted as a habitual offender under Arkansas law because of these prior felony convictions. Following formal sentencing, Stewart was immediately remanded to the custody of Sheriff Jason Watson for transport to the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
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