Tenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen said Thursday he “was not terribly pleased” with the outcome of the plea deal that ended the Kenneth Osburn case Wednesday.
Osburn pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and kidnapping in the Aug. 27, 2006, death of Casey Crowder, 17, of Pine Bluff, whose body was found Sept. 2 with a black zip-tie around her neck.
Deen said the deal was the result of a compromise between the state and the defense and was made necessary by circumstances surrounding the case.
After his first trial, Osburn was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of capital murder and kidnapping, but that sentence was thrown out by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2009. The high court ruled that Osburn’s rights were violated when State Police Special Agent Rick Newton and FBI Special Agent Boyd Boshears continued to question him on two occasions, even though Osburn had asked for an attorney.
On Wednesday, Osburn was sentenced to 30 years in prison on the charge of second-degree murder and 10 years on the charge of kidnapping, with the two sentences to run consecutively with each other, or one 40-year sentence.
He will be eligible to apply for parole after serving 14-and-a-half years, and has already served almost eight years in jail or prison since being arrested in late September 2006. He is being credited for time served.
When Deen made the decision to try Osburn a second time, he announced he would seek the death penalty, as he did the first time. Osburn appealed that decision but the high court rejected Osburn’s appeal.
“Obviously I would have preferred a different result,” Deen said about the plea agreement. “The Crowders were present during the hearing and heard Osburn admit his guilt.”
Osburn had been scheduled for a second jury trial that was to have begun Aug. 11 and if he had been convicted of capital murder, could have been sentenced to death by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole.