Before Alleged Rape, Prosecutor Objected To Inmate’s Release

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A local prosecutor strongly objected to a prison inmate being temporarily released, before the inmate was accused of raping a 17-year-old mentally-challenged girl while on furlough.

John Scott Landingham, 41, was booked Wednesday into the Benton County Jail on suspicion of rape.

Landingham was temporarily released from state prison in June 2011 on a furlough program, said Shea Wilson with the Arkansas Department of Correction.

He was serving a 45-year prison sentence from 2003 on charges of habitual domestic battering, according to department of correction records.

Wilson said inmates without a history of serious violence can often qualify for furlough or work release programs.

With Landingham up for furlough in 2007, Benton County Prosecutor Van Stone sent a recommendation to the department of correction against temporarily releasing the inmate.

"It is absurd that he would even be considered for a furlough. He is a dangerous, violent individual who received a 45-year sentence for a reason. I strongly object to his release on furlough or otherwise," Stone wrote.

While out on furlough, Landingham visited his mother near Gravette. He took a 17-year-old mentally-challenged relative to Missouri to purchase cigarettes and go hiking. On the way back to the home, Landingham stopped, took the girl's clothes off and placed her on the hood of his car, where he sexually assaulted her, according to an affidavit of probable cause from the Benton County Prosecutor's Office.

Investigators were later able to collected DNA from the girl's underwear and match it to Landingham.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.

While on furlough, Landingham likely assisted with various tasks around the Washington County Sheriff's Office, according to Washington County and correction department officials.

He was released for a few days every six months on his own recognizance.

Van Stone Statement