A Mammoth Spring, Ark., woman held without bail since late April, after she was charged following an alleged drive-by shooting in Thayer, has now been charged with one count of second-degree sexual abuse after a 17-year-old boy told police she had touched him in a sexual manner the night of the shooting.
Lois Ellen Earley, 57, has been held in the Thayer city jail in Oregon County since April 24, according to court records, which also show a video appearance was made by Earley May 4 from the jail for a bond reduction hearing. The reduction was denied.
On April 23, a statement was submitted to police from the teen alleging that, on the evening of April 21, Earley had been drinking and smoking methamphetamine with another woman. The youth stated Earley began touching him that evening, even after he asked and told her to stop, and that she did it on about three other occasions before he filed charges.
The same night, Earley reportedly allegedly convinced her 17-year-old grandson, Hunter Cole Gazaway, also of Mammoth Spring, to shoot at a vehicle from the vehicle they were riding in on Morning Side Drive in Thayer.
Each of them is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by shooting from a motor vehicle at another motor vehicle, first-degree assault or attempted assault and armed criminal action.
Earley also faces two counts of abuse or neglect of a child for reportedly involving the teen in the incident and exposing another juvenile in their vehicle to risk of harm. All of the charges are felonies.
Court records show Gazaway waived a bond hearing set for May 4 and continues to be held without bond.
Documents submitted to prosecutors show the victim who reported the sexual abuse and the youth in the vehicle at the time of the alleged shooting have the same initials and are the same age.
Regarding the shooting incident, Oregon County Sheriff’s Deputy James Martin reported at about 10 p.m. April 21, he was dispatched to a possible drive-by shooting and spoke with two residents with a view of the location from their home. They reportedly told him they heard gunshots outside, adding that as they went to the door, they saw two vehicles leave at a high rate of speed.
One of the witnesses reportedly tried to catch up with the vehicles in their own vehicle in order to get license plate numbers, but both had already turned off the road. Security cameras recorded partial footage of the incident, including the sound of gunfire, Martin added.
During the investigation Martin was contacted by Mammoth Spring Police Chief Mike Davis, who told him he had five individuals in custody, including Earley and Gazaway. Davis confiscated a firearm allegedly used during the incident, and when Gazaway was interviewed by Martin, he reportedly said it was his gun and he had done the shooting.
Gazaway said Earley had urged him to shoot at a 2002 Lincoln Navigator that she thought was being driven by a man she accused of keying her car and scratching an obscenity in the paint. Gazaway also stated Earley had been “coercing them” earlier that day by driving by their house and yelling, and had been drinking before she “yelled” at him to shoot the vehicle.
He shot more than 10 rounds toward the tires and bumper of the Navigator before it sped off, he told Martin during an investigative interview.
That version of events was corroborated by the driver of the vehicle Gazaway was riding in and two other passengers, including the other minor in the vehicle, according to Martin.