Troubled Newport Alderman Now Indicted on Charges of Threatening Witnesses

MAY 5, 2006 - Posted at 7:49 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Newport Alderman Pinkey McFarlin and his wife, already facing a trial this month on federal drug charges, now faces new charges of threatening a witness.  An indictment by a federal grand jury made public yesterday adds a charge of witness tampering against both the 55-year-old alderman and his 47-year-old wife, Tammie McFarlin.

The two are scheduled for trial May 22.  They were originally indicted January 6, 2005...the alderman on 25 counts related to the possession and distribution of crack cocaine and the tranquilizer Xanax, and his wife on two counts of aiding and abetting drug possession, with the intent to distribute.

Debra Johnson, who authorities said made 25 police-monitored purchases of drugs from Pinkey McFarlin, testified yesterday at a hearing requested by federal prosecutors who asked that the McFarlins be jailed until their trial.  Johnson said she was driving on U.S. 67/167 on April 27 when McFarlin drove alongside and motioned for her to pull over onto the shoulder.  She said McFarlin leaned out of the passenger-side window of his truck and told her she would be "dead meat" if she testifies at his trial.

McFarlin said he was at a doctor's office in Little Rock at the time Johnson claims he threatened her.  He also said the window he is accused of using to make the threat has been stuck shut for several months.

U.S. Magistrate J. Thomas Ray declined to order the couple behind bars.  Ray did, however, add conditions to the McFarlins' release pending trial, requiring both to stay at least 300 feet from Johnson and to have no contact with any other witnesses.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)