McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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October 10, 2012

Jury: Tarron not guilty

McALESTER — Miles Jordan Tarron, 19, of McAlester, was found not guilty by a jury Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburg County District Court.

Tarron was accused of assaulting Charlie Fields by elbowing him in the stomach on June 2, 2011, outside of a Pittsburg County courtroom immediately following criminal court proceedings for Tarron’s mother, Angela Marcum. Tarron was charged July 26 in Pittsburg County District Court with one count of misdemeanor assault and battery, according to a state indictment.

According to testimony, Tarron was attending a criminal court proceeding for his mother, Marcum, on June 2, 2011. When the people attending the proceeding filed into the crowded hallway outside of the courtroom, Tarron was accused of elbowing Fields, the boyfriend of a prosecution witness in his mother’s criminal case, in the stomach.

Marcum, a former District 18 Drug Court Coordinator for Pittsburg and McIntosh counties, is accused in an Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury indictment of embezzling public money and property, along with stealing, destroying or secreting a public book or record in the form of receipts for payments made by drug court participants.

Seven people testified in Tarron’s misdemeanor assault trial Tuesday, including Fields, who testified that at first he thought Tarron’s bump was accidental until he saw Tarron looking at him with a “mean” expression on his face.

Fields’ girlfriend, Tresa Pippin, also testified that Tarron was giving “mean” looks. “He was looking down on me with a hard look on his face,” Pippin testified.

District 18 Drug Court Coordinator Deborah Burrows testified that she was in the courtroom on June 2, 2011. Burrows testified that on that day, Fields began coughing  and making other disruptive sounds during statements that were in support of Marcum. Burrows said she believed Fields was making these disruptive sounds intentionally because he didn’t like what he was hearing.

Burrows also testified that she observed Tarron become angry with Fields and she saw Tarron “glare” at Fields multiple times.

Jurors heard testimony from Johnny D. Blankenship, whose company installed the video surveillance system at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

Jurors viewed video footage of the alleged assault on June 2, 2011, that was introduced as evidence in the case. Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Det. Tommy Lyons testified he investigated the alleged assault. He discussed the video footage and testified about a letter he received from Tarron during his investigation. The letter was included as part of his report regarding his investigation.

“I may have accidentally bumped into someone and if I did, I apologize,” Tarron said in the letter, Lyons testified.

The jurors were dismissed from the courtroom for a break when Tarron’s defense attorney, Shannon McMurray, requested Special Judge Tim Mills dismiss the case.

“There is absolutely no evidence that this was done intentionally,” McMurray said.

Mills presided over the trial and commented regarding the video footage. “If it happened on the video,” Mills said, “then your eyesight is way better than mine, because I didn’t see it.” But he overruled McMurray’s request, stating there was other testimony that the jury has to consider.

At this point in the trial, prosecution attorney Megan Tilly of the U.S. Attorney’s office rested her case. McMurray then called two witnesses who were also in the crowded hallway on June 2, 2011. Levenia Carey and Mary Ann Carey both testified that the hallway was very crowded and difficult to maneuver without bumping into people. Both also testified Fields began speaking aggressively to Tarron outside of the courthouse, after the alleged assault took place. They also told jurors Fields was talking negatively to Tarron and Tarron looked in Fields’ direction, but walked by, apparently ignoring the comments.

As the trial continued Wednesday afternoon, McMurray called two more defense witnesses. Rebeckah Wilson testified she witnessed the incident on June 2, 2011. She testified that she saw Fields bump into Tarron. She also testified that Tarron did not elbow Fields in the stomach.

McMurray then called Tarron to testify in his defense. He said that he was in the courtroom on June 2, 2011, in support of his mother. He testified that he heard someone clear his throat and make disruptive sounds that day and looked in the direction of the sound.

“Most of the people in the courtroom looked at him when he did that,” Tarron said. Tarron said that he was not angry about it but that he found it disrespectful.

When Tarron was asked if he thought it was disrespectful to his mother, Tarron said he thought it was disrespectful to the court.

Tarron also testified that he never gave a mean look or dirty look to anyone and that he did not intentionally bump into Fields. Tarron testified that he remembers Fields bumping him and saying, “Excuse me.”

Tarron also testified that Fields confronted him outside of the courthouse and Fields’ behavior suggested that he wanted to fight. Tarron testified that there was “just no sense in it” so he ignored Fields’ comments and continued walking.

At 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Tilly, the prosecutor, gave her closing arguments. Many people were at Marcum’s hearing that day, Tilly said, and emotions were running high.

“Mr. Fields expressed his dislike for what was being said in court by coughing loudly,” Tilly said in her closing argument. “Mr. Tarron found this disrespectful to his mother ... followed Mr. Fields out of the courtroom ... glared at him ... and elbowed him in the stomach.”

Defense attorney McMurray then gave her closing argument, saying the evidence showed Fields’ behavior was rude and disruptive that day. She described Fields as a 50-year-old man trying to bait a teenager in a courthouse into fighting.

“Mr. Fields was there that day ... and he was a jerk,” McMurray said. “Don’t reward his behavior by punishing this young man.”

McMurray referred the jury back to her opening argument when she said that by the end of the trial, the jurors would see that “a truck” could be driven through the state’s case. “And that’s what I believe we’ve shown here,” McMurray said. “There is so much reasonable doubt.”

The jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before returning to the courtroom with a not-guilty verdict for Tarron.

If convicted, Tarron was facing up to 90 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“It sucks that we had to go through all this,” Tarron told the News-Capital after hearing the verdict. “I feel like they wasted a bunch of money — the state’s money, the taxpayers’ money, my money — and all of our time.”

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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