One Million Dollar Bond Set For Man Accused Of Raping Three Minors

JANUARY 23, 2004 -- Posted at: 11:00pm

JONESBORO, AR -- Jonesboro detectives got a tip Tuesday that Billy Ray Pearson had possibly raped at least three girls. After talking with the alleged victims, two eight-year-old girls and an 11-year-old girl, a search warrant was approved by Judge Ray Spruell. Pearson was at his home at 404 West Forrest on Wednesday when detectives found homemade and purchased pornographic videotapes, sexual devices and young girls undergarments.

"He seemed very calm, very calm," explained Detective Dewayne Pierce, a member of the Jonesboro Police Department. "Never asked any questions as to why we were there."

Soon after searching the house, officers arrested Pearson. He was charged with nine counts of rape and 20 counts of sexual indecency with a child.

Detective Pierce said, "..because of this unspeakable act. I mean this is.. it's unspeakable."

Billy Ray Pearson had no answer as he walked into court as to why he was being accused of raping and committing indecent sexual acts with minors. Toys remain in his front yard where children visiting Pearson likely last left them. The neighbors we spoke with are suprised.

"He's always just seemed real nice, so I never expected it, because he's a real nice person." said next door neighbor Misty Crawford after hearing news of the arrest. "He's real decent. I mean he would go out of his way to help you if you needed help."

Billy Pearson's nephew said he can back up their statements. He claimed these actions are very out of character for his uncle. Billy Pearson has two grown daughters, and his nephew has five. He doesn't believe his uncle has or would ever harm those females. Other neighbors don't want to take that chance.

"It makes me be more cautious with my children," said Aline Bass who lives diagonal from Pearson's residence. "It's too close to home."

Investigators believe there are three more girls who may also have been victimized.

Detective Dewayne Pierce added, "We received information that he possibly babysat for these, but we're not, we're just not sure right now."

Pierce said the sexual acts may have taken place for as long as four years. In the 14 years he's been in law enforcement, the detective, a father of two boys, feels this is the most difficult case he's ever worked.

"Hug your kids if you've got them," he said.

Judge Ray Spruell has seen 10 minutes of the tapes taken into evidence. From what investigators can find, Billy Ray Pearson has had no prior problems with any law enforcement officers. However, because of the severity of the crimes, the high possibility that other children could be harmed or that Pearson could leave the area, Judge Spruell set Pearson's bond at $1,000,000. If he does make bail, he'll be required to check in with Detective Dewayne Pierce every Friday in person.

Pearson is scheduled to be in court again on February 27th. If he's convicted of these crimes, he could serve 10 to 40 years or life for each act of rape. For each sexual indecency with a child charge, he would serve up to six years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.