A Marmaduke man charged with the Oct. 6 murder of his brother has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Bradley Allen Schuler, 39, pleaded guilty to the charge, a Class C felony, on April 27 in Greene County Circuit Court.
The plea resulted in a fine of $2,500 and a sentence of 84 months probation, plus $190 in court costs and a monthly probation supervision fee of $35.
As previously reported, Schuler had originally been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Wesley Scott Schuler, 29, also of Marmaduke. First degree murder, a Class Y felony, carries a maximum penalty of 10 to 40 years (or life) in the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC).
Manslaughter, as a Class C felony, carries a maximum penalty of three to 10 years in the ADC and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
“The family members were present in court,” said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Thompson, “and they all expressed the desire that Bradley not be incarcerated.” Thompson added that Schuler’s surviving brother, his sister and his father were present. “They said they’d already lost a family member,” he said, “and that they didn’t want to lose another one.”
Thompson also said prosecutors had consulted with the Arkansas State Police, who had investigated the killing together with the Marmaduke Police Department. “And everybody agreed this was the best outcome,” he said. “It’s all very sad.”
Marmaduke Police Chief Scott Chambers expressed surprise at the sentence when informed Wednesday morning of the plea. “I’m a little shocked,” he said. “I’m surprised at probation without any jail time.”
According to Chambers, officers from his department were dispatched to the incident location at about 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 6.
“I arrived on-scene at approximately 4:55 p.m.,” he had said at the time, “and the victim was transported to Arkansas Methodist Medical Center shortly thereafter. The Arkansas State Police were summoned, and we and they are working together.”
As reported at the time, the Marmaduke Police had been dispatched to 107 N. Fifth St. Once they arrived, they found Wesley Schuler to be the victim of a gunshot wound, and located the weapon used for the shooting. He later died at AMMC.
According to information from the Greene County Detention Center, the department had originally taken Schuler into custody Oct. 6 on a charge of one count of first-degree murder, a Class Y felony.