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Sentencing Set On Assault Conviction

A Ford area man is to be sentenced March 28 for threatening three youths with a gun when he entered a Springdale resident’s home last October to collect a debt.

Last week, a jury found James McMurtrey, 49, guilty of three counts of second-degree assault - one count for each of the children he had threatened with a .22-caliber pistol.

The jury acquitted McMurtrey of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery.

McMurtrey and his wife, Tracie McMurtrey, 42, and a 15-year-old boy burst into Sonja Howder’s home in the early morning, according to trial testimony. James McMurtrey ran upstairs to Howder’s bedroom with his gun blazing.

Among the youths who were threatened was Howder’s nephew, Richard Johnson, 16.

Johnson told authorities he ran upstairs to help Howder, but James McMurtrey pointed the gun at his head and then fired several shots near his feet.

Howder said Tracie McMurtrey punched her in the face, pulled her hair and kicked her. Tracie McMurtrey reportedly believed Howder had shortchanged her in a drug transaction, but Howder claimed McMurtrey was trying to collect on a $50 loan.

Tracie McMurtrey is scheduled for trial April 21 on first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery charges.

, DataTimes

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