MURRAY – The next court hearing for a Murray woman indicted for a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident has been postponed until March.
In September, a Calloway County grand jury returned a true bill of indictment against Linda Arakelyan of Murray. The indictment was for a Class A misdemeanor by direct submission, and a criminal summons was then issued for the defendant. According to the indictment, the grand jury charges that “on or about the 15th day of August 2020, in Calloway County, Kentucky, the above-named Defendant committed the offense of Falsely Reporting an Incident when she reported to law enforcement authorities that William Forrest had ‘slapped my hand’ knowing that this was false and did not occur, in violation of KRS 519.040.”
Arakelyan was originally scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, though it is now been set for 10:30 a.m. March 9. Her attorney, Chris Hendricks, has requested a jury trial. Calloway Circuit Clerk Linda Avery said Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton recently extended his moratorium on jury trials until at least April.
After an encounter during a 24-hour protest of the Confederate monument at the Calloway County Courthouse on the morning of Aug. 15, 2020, Arakelyan filed a complaint with the Murray Police Department against William “Sandy” Forrest of Murray. Arakelyan and other protesters told the Ledger & Times at the time that Forrest used a garden hose to spray the sidewalk chalk drawings they had made near the monument and eventually began spraying several protesters. The next day, Forrest confirmed to the newspaper that he had been spraying the sidewalk, but said he had not meant to spray any of the protesters.
Calloway County Attorney Bryan Ernstberger confirmed to the Ledger & Times in late August that the Murray Police Department had requested a summons of Forrest for the charge of harassment with no physical contact. At that time, Ernstberger said he rejected the e-warrant against Forrest because the investigating officer had failed to articulate probable cause. He said he sent it back and left it up to the department whether or not to revise the e-warrant to continue pursuing the charge. After Ernstberger brought the case to the grand jury, the grand jury opted to indict Arakelyan instead of Forrest, returning no true bill against him.
Hendricks previously told the Ledger & Times he believes videos taken while his client and others were being sprayed shows it would have been easy for her to think Forrest slapped her hand. He noted that she had her eyes closed because of the water being sprayed in her direction at the time.