Jonathan Clatterbuck says he hopes justice will be served when the man charged in an ATV crash that killed his daughter and injured his son goes to trial next month. Jerrell Stanton Leadman Jr., 62, of Bentonville, has been charged in an Aug.10, 2021, incident involving the death of Olivia Clatterbuck,7, and non-fatal injuries to her brother, Roman Clatterbuck, 4.
Leadman is facing two counts of felony child abuse for driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in which the siblings were passengers in unsafe circumstances involving speed and wet terrain around 7 p.m. in the evening. Authorities say Leadman lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over and crash. Neither child was wearing a helmet or seat belt at the time of the accident. According to the prosecution, questioned by first responders about beer bottles discovered at the scene, Leadman admitted to having consumed three beers over the course of the day and starting on a fourth. No sobriety test was administered at the time of the accident.
First responders said Olivia Clatterbuck died at the scene when part of the vehicle landed on her head. Published reports have indicated that Leadman was the children’s grandfather, but Jonathan Clatterbuck says that is untrue. Leadman, he told Royal Examiner, is the ex-stepfather of Olivia’s mother. Clatterbuck also says that he “was aware the children were riding the ATV (when in the care of their mother) – and all I will say is we had differing opinions on that.”
Clatterbuck says of his daughter, “Olivia was a caring and loving kid. Always was worried about others more than herself. Just a bright ray of sunshine that would brighten your day no matter what you were going through. Loved her family and friends very much. She meant the world to everyone that knew her.”
Leadman appeared before Judge Daryl L. Funk in Warren County Circuit Court on Nov.14 on two counts of felony child abuse resulting in serious injury or death. A plea agreement reached between Warren County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicholas L. Manthos and Leadman’s defense attorney William A. “Beau” Bassler would have allowed Leadman the opportunity to avoid jail time.
The agreement stipulated that the court defer Leadman’s trial for a year. Additionally, the court would sentence Leadman to 12-month jail sentences for each misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, with all time suspended, and place Leadman on unsupervised probation.
However, Funk rejected the plea deal, stating, “It’s either not criminal behavior and should not result in criminal prosecution or it’s criminal behavior, resulted in a loss of life, and should be punished accordingly, and the plea agreement does not meet those circumstances.”
Funk said that the terms of the plea deal would not fall within the sentencing guidelines that recommended Leadman serve some time in jail.
Before Funk ruled on the plea agreement, he allowed Clatterbuck to speak from the witness stand. Holding up a photograph of Olivia, he said, “I just want to make sure you realize what I lost. That was Olivia Grace Clatterbuck. Seven years old. She had no choice in the matter when she was taken out of this world.
“Not only that, me and her mother were robbed of proms, graduations, and me walking that little girl down the aisle,” Clatterbuck continued. No one else here has to hear or see or deal with the nightmares at two-to-three o’clock in the morning.”
Of his son, Roman, Clatterbuck said, “He lived it. He’s seen it. It’s all coming back. How do I explain (to my son) the man who took my daughter out of this world is not going to face justice?”
In an interview with Royal Examiner, Clatterbuck said of the plea agreement, “I was extremely angry when Manthos called me on Nov. 8 and said they offered a plea, and we’re going to court on the 14th. After going rounds with that office and not having emails and phone calls returned, for him to call out of the blue for that, I was angry and insulted.” He says he is grateful that Judge Funk rejected the plea agreement.
The holidays, he says, are hard for him and his family, “We have so many memories of past holidays and her excitement for Christmas. It’s hard getting through sometimes.”
Looking ahead to the January trial, Clatterbuck said, “My hope for the trial and what I have always wanted is for the whole thing to come out and for justice to be served. All of it. Not just this person is charged with this or that. I want all the information and the facts to come out. A child lost her life due to negligence and another one has to live with what he experienced and remembers.”
Leadman faces a jury trial in the Warren County Circuit Court on Jan. 24 and 25.