Gram­mer sen­tenced to 15 years in prison

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - RECORDS - By Tracy M. Neal NWA Demo­crat-Gazette

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.


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