As of this writing, I am still waiting to pass the official word to you — the public — on the negotiated plea of guilty by James Hagen Glenn in the death of 4-year-old Skyler Shellstrom in November of 2016. (Click here for more info.)
Skylar’s case was being followed with a keen interest by many people — certainly in Stone County, but also in other nearby counties because it came down to a case of a 4-year-old child being abused and beaten until her life was taken.
And the question to be answered was: who was responsible for this little girl’s death — either by their actions or inactions? Our reporter, who was in the courtroom when the Arkansas State Medical Examiner testified, said to me that you couldn’t help but cry when you heard about the abuse Skylar endured: the knots, the bumps, the bruises, the scarring from being burned, all from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. And that’s not to mention the cold showers she was given for defecating in her pants.
Justice had to be rendered in this case — adults abusing a child because they could.
The mother, Victoria Dycus, has already been tried in the case and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. We found out in a July 5 pre-trial about the possibility of a negotiated plea being offered by the prosecution to the other person charged in the case, Dycus’ live-in boyfriend, James Hagen Glenn. The hearing was to be continued until July 19 in Stone County Circuit Court, but Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer said to the defense lawyer, the plea offer was only good for that day — July 5. And, instead of July 19, the “continued” hearing was moved up to July 11.
When we heard in the late hours that the “continued” hearing was moved up to the July 11 date instead of the July 19 date, we were hit with another change: The plea was to be heard in the Cleburne County Circuit Courtroom in Heber Springs.
Our staff couldn’t adjust quickly enough to have someone in the courtroom. Well, that’s OK. I thought. We can contact the Stone County Circuit Clerk’s office and get the information.
There are questions.
Why was the “continued” hearing moved up 8 days to July 11?
Why was it held in Cleburne County instead of Stone County?
Did Glenn enter into a negotiated plea of guilty? If so, what charge did he plead to?
If it wasn’t first-degree murder, why was it changed?
What sentence did he receive? (See below.)
Was this a plea that would require Glenn to serve at least seventy percent of the sentence?
Was this a plea that would only require Glenn to serve as little as one-sixth of his sentence under good behavior? In other words, was there a minimum time he had to serve?
All legitimate questions to be asked. So we contacted, the Stone County Circuit Clerk’s office, the recorder and keeper of circuit court records.
Our questions to the clerk’s office:
Question: Was there a negotiated plea? If so, have you received and recorded the negotiated plea of guilty that Glenn entered into? Answer: No. We have not received any information as of yet on the negotiated plea, but we expect to receive it soon.
Question: Who is responsible to get the information to you? Answer: We are not sure, but one of the officials in the courtroom that day.
Now, there are probably very legitimate reasons why all this has transpired the way it has. Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer told our Mountain View reporter that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and she will get with us. We are waiting for Meyer to do that so we can pass on to you the clarification the prosecutor will provide.
It has been reported that Glenn received a 10-year sentence, with six years suspended and four years to be served in a state correctional facility, but as of this morning, this has not been officially filed in the Stone County Circuit Clerk’s office.
James Hagen Glenn / Image via Stone County Sheriff’s Office
Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. and Ozark Newsline on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ, 93 KZLE, and other W.R.D. Entertainment radio stations. If you have a news tip or event to promote, email White River Now at firstname.lastname@example.org.