Grammer sentenced to 15 years in prison
BENTONVILLE — A grieving father described the impact of losing his daughter as the man responsible for her death stood only a few feet away.
“Leslie was a warm, loving and caring person that tried to put a smile on everyone’s face,” Chad Perry said. “She couldn’t stand when others around her were sad or down and would go out of her way to cheer them up. It would devastate and destroy her to see the pain we have suffered during her death, which came way too early.”
Chad Perry spoke in a courtroom Thursday morning, moments before Austin Lance Grammer was sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with Leslie Perry’s death.
Grammer, 19, of Siloam Springs pleaded guilty second-degree sexual assault, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence, all felonies. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide.
Chad Perry only talked about his daughter and never mentioned Grammer, whose plea came under an agreement Carly Marshall, deputy prosecutor, reached with Doug Norwood, Grammer’s attorney.
Police arrested Grammer on Feb. 17 after finding Perry, 20, dead at 235 Meadow Court in Siloam Springs that same day. Grammer lived at the apartment.
Grammer told police Perry, also of Siloam Springs, was his friend and he was going to ask her to be his girlfriend, according to the five-page probable cause affidavit.
He also told police he found Perry after he returned from work Feb. 17, but later admitted he didn’t get to work.
Grammer said Perry came to his apartment between 10 and 11 p.m. Feb. 16, and they slept the entire night. He said he woke up around 7:45 a.m. Feb. 17 and Perry was snoring.
Perry’s ringing phone woke Grammer up at 10:45 a.m. He silenced the phone and said he was unsure if Perry was breathing then. He said he went back to sleep until 2 p.m. and checked on Perry around 3 p.m., according to the affidavit.
Surveillance video from Gas Station III and a sales receipt show Grammer purchased sour gummy worms, condoms and an energy drink at 6:15 p.m., according to the affidavit.
He went home and cleaned and finally called 911 around 9:30 p.m., according to the affidavit.
Marshall told Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karen that Grammer engaged in sex acts with Perry while she was physically incapable of consent and he physically mistreated Perry’s corpse. Grammer negligently caused Perry’s death and attempted to destroy, alter and conceal evidence at the scene.
Chad Perry told the court his daughter’s death left his family heartbroken, angry and sad. It also tested their faith, he said.
“Leslie’s death robbed us of so many memories that were left to be made,” he said. “We will never be able to give her away in marriage, have holidays at her house, or hold and spoil her children. We are not going to be able to watch her grow as a wife, woman or mother.”
Karren gave Grammer an opportunity to address the court, but he declined to speak.
Karren then sentenced Grammer to 15 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Grammer will have to abide by a suspended sentence agreement for 10 years after his release from prison.