A Miller County man who claims he “fell in love” with the daughter of a woman he was living with received a total 60-year sentence Thursday as part of a plea bargain.
Drew Curtis Bynum, 27, recently underwent a psychological evaluation to determine if he is competent to face child sexual abuse charges. A psychiatrist’s report received by the court last week determined Bynum is competent and that he knew what he was doing with the 8-year-old victim was wrong.
Bynum appeared Thursday morning before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones with Assistant Public Defender Matt Stephens. Jones began the hearing by addressing the psychiatrist’s finding of competency and asked Stephens and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson if a formal hearing to address the issue is necessary. Stephens agreed that no hearing is needed in light of the mental evaluation and said his client was prepared to plead guilty as part of an arrangement with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Bynum was charged last year with three counts of rape and one count of second-degree sexual assault. Robertson said her office would move to reduce two of the rape charges to second-degree sexual assault and dismiss one count of rape. Bynum pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child.
Bynum received the maximum term of imprisonment, 20 years, on each count. Robertson said that Bynum’s plea arrangement includes consecutive terms meaning he will serve a total 60-year sentence.
Upon release from prison, Bynum must register as a sex offender. He was arrested in June after the victim’s mother made a report to the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
In an interview with Investigator Patsy DeHart, Bynum confessed to sexually abusing the girl. Bynum told DeHart that he “messed up” and that he “fell in love with her when he saw her for the first time,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Resolution of the case via plea bargain means the young victim will not have to take the stand and relive the abuse in court. Bynum is currently in Miller County custody where he will remain until transported to Arkansas Dept. of Correction.