Former Bentonville firefighter sentenced to death for battery


HOT SPRINGS – A judge has ordered a former Bentonville firefighter to serve 60 days in jail after convicting him of third degree assault and battery and charges of public intoxication.

Benjamin Snodgrass, 45, had been charged with misdemeanors in connection with a March 13 incident outside Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, in which Snodgrass allegedly made racist remarks and threats to Liem Nguyen, 35 , from Hot Springs. Snodgrass resigned as captain of the Bentonville Fire Department later in the month.

A trial was held on September 10 in Garland County District Court. Judge Joe Graham found Snodgrass guilty on both counts on Friday, according to court documents.

Graham sentenced him to one year in jail with all but 60 days suspended on the battery charge, and 30 days in jail on the public intoxication charge, the two terms being concurrent, according to the documents.

Snodgrass was ordered to report to jail at 8:30 a.m. on November 1 to begin his sentence.

Nguyen said during the trial that he was in Oaklawn playing casino craps on March 13 and left to return home, calling an Uber to come and pick him up. He said he was waiting outside, minding his own business, when Snodgrass started making comments to him.

He said Snodgrass came up to him and got his hands on him, and said he was “going to kill me and my kind of people.” Nguyen said Snodgrass was very loud and he could smell alcohol on him.

Nguyen testified that he put his hands up, but Snodgrass kept pushing him so Nguyen started hitting him in defense, noting: “He was taller than me, I am much shorter than him. . ” He said they both fell to the ground and Snodgrass was still holding his shirt, which had been torn during the fight.

Snodgrass worked for the Bentonville Fire Department for 14 years before stepping down on March 26. He was promoted to captain in 2019.

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