Furloughed Inmate Gets 20 Years In Teen’s Rape

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A state prison inmate accused of raping a teenage mentally-challenged girl while out on furlough pleaded guilty to felony rape Monday in Benton County, according to county law enforcement officials.

John Scott Landingham, 41, was booked into the Benton County Jail in November on suspicion of rape. Landingham was temporarily released from state prison in June 2011 on a furlough program when the rape occurred, said Shea Wilson with the Arkansas Department of Correction.

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

Landingham received a 20-year prison sentence after admitting to raping a 17-year-old girl while visiting his mother in Gravette.

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 girl 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.

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