NOVEMBER 22, 2006 - Posted at 4:32 p.m. CST
WALNUT RIDGE, AR - A federal appeals court has upheld the three-year prison sentence of a Walnut Ridge farmer convicted of wiretapping, although the court said the punishment was "significantly" greater than the guidelines recommended.
A federal jury convicted Stuart Reithemeyer of secretly tape-recording the telephone conversations of his then-estranged wife, Elizabeth Reithemeyer. But the jury acquitted Reithemeyer of hiring someone to murder his wife and a related count of soliciting someone to commit a crime of violence.
During his trial, Reithemeyer admitted that he paid a man to plant drugs in a vehicle used by his wife. He said the money he gave the man was not for the purpose of killing his wife, but to get her convicted of a crime and imprisoned so that he could get custody of their children.
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today said the three-year sentence on the four wiretapping convictions was appropriate, even though the sentencing range was six to twelve months.