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May 3, 2019

Keith Stephens Chief of Communications

EL DORADO – A Union County man has pleaded guilty to attempted arson and jury tampering in a case involving an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer’s truck. Harold S. Otwell, 47, of El Dorado, pleaded guilty to two felonies this week after he attempted to burn an AGFC wildlife officer’s truck.

Otwell received 10 years for the attempted arson and five years for the jury tampering.

The attempted arson was discovered June 24, 2018, after the Union County wildlife officer noticed an oily substance and indications that someone had attempted to light the liquid on his state-issued vehicle. The officer’s vehicle was parked outside his residence when the incident occurred. Additional evidence showed that Otwell had attempted to contact one of the jurors in his case.

The investigation included the AGFC’s Enforcement Division, Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police and Union County Sheriff's Office. Evidence was gathered from the scene and forwarded to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for analysis.

Maj. Brad Young, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Enforcement Division Assistant Chief, said he believes the attempted arson was in retaliation for actions taken previously by a wildlife officer in the performance of his job. “This was a very serious felony,” Young explained. “We’re pleased to see that something of this magnitude results in a substantial sentence,” he added.