Former UCA Chief of Staff Jack Gillean was found guilty yesterday on all six counts of commercial burglary in Van Buren County Court and sentenced to three years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine for the first count.
Gillean was sentenced to 10 years concurrent probation and a $5,000 fine for each of the five other counts.
Gillean’s trial began Monday and lasted through Wednesday evening, when the jury produced a guilty verdict on all six counts of commercial burglary after deliberating for only an hour and a half.
After Judge Charles Clawson announced the verdict and the courtroom broke for lunch, Gillean declined to comment, saying, “Speak to my attorneys, please.”
The sentencing hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., but did not actually begin until 2:05.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Troy Braswell called Detective Brian Williams to the stand as a witness. The two went over a series of text messages Williams had found when investigating a phone belonging to Cameron Stark, the student to whom Gillean is accused of giving his master-key to aid in the stealing of exams.
The subject of the text messages was marijuana, and they seemed to portray Gillean supplying Stark, who was a student at UCA at the time, with the drugs.
This evidence would not be admissible earlier in the trial, but during the sentencing hearing Braswell wanted to make sure the jury “saw the whole story” regarding the activities going on while Gillean was Chief of Staff.
“We wanted the jury to have the whole picture, we wanted the jury to understand everything that happened when Mr. Gillean was Chief of Staff and his interaction with students,” Braswell said after the trial concluded.
Defense attorney Tim Dudley was not happy with the prosecution’s choice to bring the text-messages up during the hearing.
Dudley said, “If they wanted to charge Jack Gillean with drug offenses, they would have done so,” and that Williams had no way of knowing if Gillean had been the one who sent the text-messages to Stark’s phone.
Dudley called Gillean’s twin sister to testify in his favor during the hearing.
She described her brother as an “outstanding” father, a “patient, compassionate, private” man and a “loving brother.”
Dudley asked that the jury disregard the detective’s text report and to consider the “punishment” Gillean had already been through when deciding a sentence.
“[Gillean] has lost his job, his reputation…He had his sex life exposed…My question is, how much punishment is enough? How much punishment is too much?” Dudley asked.
Dudley asked that the jurors not sentence Gillean to any amount of imprisonment.
Braswell’s rebuttal included the claim that “the state is shocked that Mr. Dudley is asking for a fine,” as he did not think a fine would be sufficient.
The jury deliberated until almost 4:00 p.m. and returned with the suggested sentence of three years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine for the first count of commercial burglary, and 10 years concurrent probation and $5,000 fines for the remaining five counts.
Braswell said that the prosecution was confident in its case from the get-go.
“Closure is what it means for [UCA],” Braswell said of the conclusion of the trial and the sentencing.
Gillean was escorted in handcuffs to the Faulkner County Jail by Sheriff Andy Shock.
Both Gillean and his attorney declined to comment on the sentencing.
Braswell said that the prosecution will move forward and petition for a court hearing regarding the other charges against Gillean, which include one felony count of fraudulent insurance acts and one misdemeanor count of issuing a false financial statement.