This time it wasn’t Florida.
Kerrie Lenkerd told police in Centerton, a northwest Arkansas town, that she looked out a window and saw the teen with “the dog he raped last time.”
“I got my gun out of my safe and went out my back door,” Lenkerd told police, according to a court filing. “I told him to get on the f—ing ground and pointed my gun at him.”
The boy, identified only as NM, 14 years old, in court documents, jumped over a fence and ran. As he fled, Lenkerd fired a shot into the grass “to scare him,” she said.
The teenager left behind an iPad and clothing, Lenkerd told police, who also found a spent shell casing.
A neighbor spotted the boy running down the street wearing boxers and no pants, which police said he acknowledged doing.
The court filing says the boy told police he “ran home, changed clothes and told his mother a false story.” He denied, however, calling Lenkerd a “crazy b—h.”
The boy was charged with two counts of bestiality and one count of criminal trespassing, police say.
But Lenkerd’s attorney Shane Wilkinson says she was surprised when she also was charged, with aggravated assault. He says the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office should drop the case against her.
“There’s a difference between pointing a gun at a 14-year-old kid for no reason and pointing a gun at a 14-year-old kid because they’re having sex with a dog,” Wilkinson says.
Wilkinson says Lenkerd was attempting to detain the boy because she had previously reported him to police but was told he would need to be caught in the act.
Wilkinson says it’s his understanding that Lenkerd was charged for pointing the gun at the teen, not for firing the shot as he ran away.
Centerton Police Department Captain Kristopher Arthur says the department charged Lenkerd “per request” of the prosecutor’s office.
Nathan Smith, Benton County’s elected prosecuting attorney, however, says his office did not request the charge but that a member of his staff merely signed off on the existence of probable cause for an arrest warrant.
That’s a different question from whether the case should be prosecuted, Smith says. He says he hasn’t decided if his office will pursue the case and expects a decision before Lenkerd’s scheduled June 5 arraignment.
Smith says it’s possible to face an aggravated assault charge for either pointing a gun at someone or firing a gun into the ground – though “certainly you can, just by pointing a gun at someone, commit the crime of aggravated assault.”
The statute governing aggravated assault has an exception for self-defense “or the defense of a third party,” but Smith says that “typically you’re just talking about the defense of a person.” The prosecutor adds, however, that it can be legal under certain circumstances to use force to defend property.
A decision on whether to pursue charges will focus on whether Lenkerd’s action was necessary and proportionate, Smith says. He says he cannot confirm that the boy will face charges relating to the April 17 incident, which was first reported in the local press late last week.
Wilkinson says his client, who is 40 years old, has never faced criminal charges before. An online Arkansas court records search revealed only the pending case.
“She did not call the police on herself thinking she would be arrested. She thought she was doing the right thing,” Wilkinson says.