On April 2, Mark Lee Bufford, 40, of Mt. Vernon was sentenced to a total of 56 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for 1st degree sexual assault on two girls. The girls were minors and family members.
According to court documents, Bufford engaged in sexual intercourse with the girls between 2007 and 2009. Bufford reportedly forced the girls to cooperate with by telling them he would kill the mother if they said anything about the incidents. As time went on, clues about Bufford’s conduct began to surface, including one incident in which the mother walked in on Bufford and one of the girls as an incident was about to take place. In April 2012, Bufford was formally charged with rape and was arrested on a $50,000 bond.
After a year of legal proceedings, Bufford pled no contest to a negotiated plea of 2 counts of 1st degree sexual assault, receiving 30 years in prison for one count and 26 for the other, resulting in a total of 56 years total. Bufford is required to register as a sexual predator and is forbidden from having any contact with the victims or their families.
According the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, Bufford has a history of criminal activity, including drugs and theft, and has been arrested multiple times over the years.
In addition to the prison sentence, Bufford is required to pay over $1500 in fines and fees and a $250 mandatory sex offender fee.
In other police news, Heber police report that on April 1, a woman entered the police department to be fingerprinted for a job. As she was being fingerprinted, officers ran her drivers license information and learned she had an arrest warrant out of Faulkner County. The 28-year-old Heber woman was arrested and taken to the Cleburne County jail.
On April 2, a woman placed in charge of watching her granddaughter’s house on South 5th street reported that the house had been broken into. She reported that clothes and various other items were missing from the house. Police are still investigating the incident.