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Man pleads guilty to assault, abuse felonies

by Lynn Larowe | May 3, 2021 at 2:01 a.m.

TEXARKANA -- A man whose sexual assault charge led to the discovery of his longtime girlfriend's sister's skeletonized corpse has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies in Miller County.

Tony Ken Hooker, 64, pleaded guilty last week to sexual assault of a child, abuse of a corpse and abuse of an endangered or impaired person at a hearing before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones. Hooker was sentenced to maximum prison terms on each count including 20 years for sexual assault, 10 years for abuse of a corpse and 20 years for abuse of an endangered or impaired person.

As part of his plea agreement, all three sentences were ordered to run concurrently for a 20-year sentence, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said. Hooker received credit for the 440 days he spent in jail while his cases were pending.

"But for the courage of a young lady in disclosing repeated sexual abuse at the hands of Tony Hooker, we would have never known about the horrific neglect and mistreatment of Ms. [Christy] Himes both prior to and subsequent to her death. Mr. Hooker's admission of guilt will bring closure to this young lady for the abuse she endured and closure to the remaining family in the death of their loved one," Mitchell said.

When Hooker was arrested in 2019 for molesting one of his girlfriend's relatives when she was a minor, family members pressed authorities to look into the welfare of 40-year-old Christy Himes, according to search warrant and probable cause affidavits. Christy Himes was intellectually disabled and had a history of seizures.

Christy Himes was the sister of Debbie Sue Himes, Hooker's partner of more than 20 years. Hooker, Debbie Himes and Christy Himes lived together in a house Hooker owned in the 1200 block of Martha Street.

Charges of abuse of a corpse and abuse of an endangered or impaired person remain pending against Debbie Himes, Hooker's partner of more than 20 years.

She faces three to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of abuse of a corpse. If found guilty of abuse of an endangered or impaired person, Debbie Himes faces a fine of up to $15,000 and five to 20 years in an Arkansas prison.

Debbie Himes, 57, is currently free on a $15,000 bond. Her case is scheduled for a jury trial in August before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom.

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