- A Whopper of an honor: Local company named top Burger King franchisee (11/15/17)3
- Decisions coming soon on steel mill, smelter in New Madrid (11/17/17)1
- Cape attorney Brandon Cooper to run for judge (11/20/17)2
- State audit: Bollinger County tax levies violate state law; county commission disagrees (11/17/17)3
- Cape native co-directs Thanksgiving-related indie film, 'Drinksgiving' (11/17/17)
- The Tungsten Groove to release first album featuring original songs (11/17/17)
- Southern Illinois farmer's grapevines destroyed by dicamba; four years of work lost (10/29/17)2
- 1 dead, 3 hurt in accident on Highway 72 (11/19/17)
- Son of Westboro Baptist Church patriarch discusses abuse, faith (11/15/17)6
- Crowell leads effort to cut low-income tax credits in Missouri (11/19/17)6
Release Sparkman during appeal
To the editor:
As friends of Greg and Lisa Sparkman for over 20 years, we are confused about his incarceration. Our federal judicial system has taken away a strong family, business and community leader for reasons I cannot fathom. Greg faces a minimum sentence of 15 years for a supposed 5-year-old arson case that had no apparent motive and no benefit to him, all based on the testimony of a convicted methamphetamine manufacturer who was released early for testifying against Greg.
I have spoken to Greg's attorneys weekly since his conviction, and they don't understand why federal agents chose to pursue this, as it was already cleared by local and state authorities. The only reason that seems plausible is some 20-year-old crimes that Greg was charged with and found not guilty. I have known Greg all these years, and he is one of the most compassionate, moral Christians I've ever met.
I believe Greg and his family have suffered enough. Christmas was the worst day of their lives. What kind of government takes such a strong leader away for petty crimes, when sentencing is the same whether it's a $1,000 loss or a $1 million crime? It's unfair and unconstitutional.
I have no doubt Greg will win his appeal, as our government did not play fair in his trial. Greg should be released for his sake and his family's.
We love you, Greg and Lisa, and so do all the others whom you have touched. Please hang in there.
MARK and KIM VanMATRE, Cape Girardeau