Convicted Child Murderer Set Free - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR -- Brett Garrett Reports

Convicted Child Murderer Set Free

January 26, 2006 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, AR – A judge has ordered the release of a Piggott man who has been convicted a second time of killing a two-year-old girl in 1989.

It’s a murder verdict changed. In 1990 a Greene County jury found David Houston Reagan guilty of first degree murder of Sarah Binkard. He served over 14 years in prison and was released a year and a half ago. But because of an error a federal judge ruled that the case should be retried and Wednesday, a new verdict of second degree murder was handed down.

Reagan was back in the courtroom for sentencing Thursday despite suffering through a bad case of food poisoning. As expected he was released after previously serving 14 years for first degree murder. It's a something Reagan and his family are finally glad to have behind him.

“A lot of relief, a lot happier, and I just can't explain it in words,” said his son David Reagan. “We believed there was sufficient evidence for a first degree murder conviction,” said Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis, “It would normally be a victory to have a second degree murder conviction, but under these conditions it's kind of disappointing. We had to retry it after 16 years which makes it difficult to re-piece a case that is that old.”

The defendant and the prosecution waived sentencing by the jury because Reagan had previously served over 14 years in prison... longer than the sentence a second degree murder charge would have carried. “He would have served a couple more years than what he would have been required to serve at the maximum for that particular sentence,” said Davis.

Thursday’s proceedings took less than five minutes, but for a family that has had this case drawn out for over 16 years…it couldn’t come soon enough.

“It’s put us under major stress,” said Reagan’s son, “The tension has released after today, and it’s time for dad to go on with his life.”

“He can't get that back but he isn't going to be bitter or upset about it, regardless of the outcome. He is just happy that it is behind him,” said Regan’s attorney Lea Ellen Fowler.

Reagan, who has been living in Fort Smith and working at a factory there, plans to return home and move on with his life.

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