Woman sentenced to 25 years in prison after striking woman with her SUV

Woman sentenced to 25 years in prison after striking woman with her SUV
Melissa Hatley (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Office)

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Craighead County jury took about an hour Friday afternoon to convict a woman of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder last May.

According to Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Melissa Rose Hatley was convicted Friday during the trial in Craighead County Circuit Court in Jonesboro.

Hatley, 36, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, was accused of running over another woman in a parking lot at the Walmart on Highland Drive in May 2019.

The victim was hit multiple times by a 2003 Ford Escape driven by Hatley, according to Jonesboro police.

The victim told police Hatley was supposed to drive her to work but instead kept driving aimlessly, when they began to argue and the victim asked to get out of the vehicle.

Police say that’s when Hatley pulled into the Walmart parking lot.

The video from Walmart’s security system showed the victim exiting the vehicle around the Murphy Station, located on the north end of the Walmart Parking Lot.

One woman is recovering from injuries she sustained in an attempted homicide, while another woman sits in jail. On May 22 around 5:34 p.m., Amy Stephens, age 39, was struck by a 2003 Ford Escape driven by 36 year old Melissa Hatley. Ms. Stephens stated to police that Melissa Hatley was suppose to drive her to work but instead kept driving aimlessly. They began to argue and Stephens asked to get out of the vehicle. Ms. Hatley pulled into the Walmart parking lot on Highland Dr. The video from Walmart’s security system shows Stephens exiting the vehicle around the Murphy Station, located on the north end of the Walmart Parking Lot. She proceeds to walk towards the outdoor garden center when Ms. Hatley pulls up beside the victim. Ms. Stephens pauses for a moment and as she walks away, Hatley strikes her, pinning her against a stack of mulch. She then backs the SUV up about 20 feet and runs over her again, pinning Ms. Stephens under her vehicle. Witnesses on the scene stated that Hatley got out of the vehicle and crawled under the SUV and began choking Stephens with a lanyard. The quick thinking witnesses then pulled Hatley off of Stephens and held her until JPD could arrive on scene. Ms. Hatley was transported to CCDC to await her Probable Cause Hearing and Ms. Stephens was delivered to her work place by JPD patrolman, J.R. Chambers.

Posted by Jonesboro Police Department on Thursday, May 23, 2019

She proceeds to walk towards the outdoor garden center when Hatley pulls up beside the victim.

The victim pauses for a moment. As she walks away, Hatley hits the victim with the SUV, pinning her against a stack of mulch.

The video then shows Hatley backing up about 20 feet and running over her again, pinning the victim under her vehicle.

Witnesses on the scene stated that Hatley got out of the vehicle and crawled under the SUV and began choking the victim with a lanyard.

The witnesses then pulled Hatley off of the victim and held her until JPD could arrive.

The victim suffered only minor injuries.

A judge had set her bond at $500,000 last year and issued a no contact order with the victim at the time.

In a statement to Region 8 News, Craighead County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Grant DeProw said he was thankful for the jury’s verdict.

“We are very grateful for the jury’s verdict. The jury saw a case of a victim and her controlling domestic abuser who would rather kill her than let her leave the relationship,” DeProw said. “Twenty-five years sends a strong message to domestic abusers. I want to thank the officers of the Jonesboro Police Department for their efforts on behalf of this victim.”

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