- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Prosecutors have withdrawn felony theft charges against a former Garland County District Court clerk accused of embezzling more than $40,000.

Garland County Prosecuting Attorney Terri Harris told the Sentinel-Record (https://bit.ly/1TRk3Pq ) on Monday that they could refile the charges against Donna Linda Schleeter, but that she likely would be acquitted at trial with their current evidence.

“Some new information came to light that caused a problem with our being able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Harris said. “We had more than sufficient probable cause at the time to arrest her based on the documentation we had,” she said, noting prosecutors and investigators worked on the case for three years.

Schleeter came under scrutiny after a district court employee reported in 2012 that two cash deposits totaling about $41,000 were stolen. Court officials say she was responsible for putting together the deposits and putting them in a safe to be deposited.

Investigators’ suspicions were raised because of Schleeter’s gambling with more money than she had in disposable income. But an investigator noted that five other people at district court could have had access to the safe and deposits, though they were reportedly excluded as possible suspects in the thefts.

“It’s always difficult in embezzlement cases where more than one person has access to the funds,” Harris said. “All it would take would be one juror believing one of the other people may have done it and there was no real way to get around that at trial.”

Schleeter’s attorney, Brent Miller, said his client has “maintained her innocence” over the allegations. He said Schleeter is pleased with the latest decision by prosecutors.

“Presumably, the factors that led to the charges being dropped were well thought out and this matter has reached its ultimate conclusion,” Miller said.

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Information from: The Sentinel-Record, https://www.hotsr.com


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