McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 7, 2013

Snapshot: Pitts. Co. felony case filings in March

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — There were more felony case filings at the Pittsburg County Courthouse in March 2013 than there were in March 2012, an investigation of case records show. In fact, there were 50 percent more people charged in felony cases in March 2013.

In March 2013, there were 66 felony cases filed. Since multiple people can be charged in a single case, there were 74 people charged with one or more felony counts in those 66 cases.

In March 2012, there were 46 felony cases filed in which 49 people were charged with one or more felony counts.

In comparing the March felony case filings in both years, an investigation of court records reveals:

• There were 50 percent more drug and alcohol- related felonies filed in March 2012 than in March 2013.

• Theft cases increased slightly in March 2013 as compared to March 2012.

• There were five burglary felony case filings in March 2013 and only one in March 2012.

• The number of felony assault charges more than doubled in March 2013 as compared to March 2012.

• There were eight firearm and/or explosive felony charge filed in March 2013 whereas there was only one case in March 2012.

• Crimes against children increased by three cases — three were seven filed in March 2012 and 10 were filed in March 2013.

• Sex crime cases doubled — there were four sex crime cases filed in March 2013 and only two cases in March 2012.

• In March 2012 there were no felony conspiracy cases filed three felony conspiracy cases were filed in March 2013.

• In March 2013 there was one felony case involving inmate crime and one felony case involving illegal possession of a police scanner. There were no felony cases such as these filed in the same month the previous year. However, in March 2012 there was one felony case involving a crime against property — malicious injury to property valued more than $1,000 — and such a case was not filed in March 2013.

• In both March 2012 and 2013, the following types of cases were not filed: Robbery, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, animal cruelty.



The Breakdown - March 2013

• Drug and/or Alcohol — Of the 74 people charged with felony counts, 31 were charged with drug or alcohol- related charges. This category includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of drugs (including methamphetamine, Marijuana, Lorazepam and K2 or synthetic cannabinoids), possession of drugs with intent to distribute, distribution of drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine or endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of drugs near a school or park or housing authority and trafficking in illegal drugs.

• Theft — Of the 74 people charged, 18 were charged with theft. This category includes grand larceny, automobile theft, concealing stolen property or possession of stolen property, embezzlement, forgery, theft from a retailer obtaining merchandise by false pretenses, bogus check, false declaration of ownership in pawn and sale of mortgaged property.

• Burglary — Of the 74 people charged, five were charged with burglary. This category includes second degree burglary.

• Assault — Of the 74 people charged, 11 were charged with assault. This category includes domestic assault and battery, assault resulting in great bodily harm, assault with a deadly or dangerous weapon, assault on a police officer and assault on a correctional officer or government employee.

• Firearm/Explosive —Of the 74 people charged, eight had a firearm- or explosive- related charges. This category includes possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction or during probation, possession of a simulated explosive device, transporting and possessing an explosive device and feloniously pointing a firearm.

• Inmate Crime — Of the 74 people charged, one was charged with assault on corrections personnel.

• Sex Crimes — Of the 74 people charged, four are facing a felony sex crime charges. This category includes first degree rape, sexual battery, rape by instrumentation and lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child younger than 16 years of age.

• Crimes against Children — Of the 74 people charged, 10 are accused of crimes against children. This category includes child abuse by injury, enabling child abuse by injury, omitting to provide for a minor child, lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child and child neglect.

• Conspiracy — Of the 74 people charged, three are facing felony conspiracy counts.



The Breakdown - March 2012

• Drug and/or Alcohol — Of the 49 people charged with felony counts, 22 were charged with drug- or alcohol- related charges. This category includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of drugs (methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, Lortab, Xanax, Oxycodone, Dextroamphetamine), possession of drugs with intent to distribute near a school or park, distribution of drugs, trafficking in illegal drugs, possession of drugs in front of minors and providing alcohol to a person younger than 21. Half of these cases ended in deferred sentencing. Four of the cases were dismissed, five people received suspended sentence, one person was ordered to complete drug court and one person received a 16-year prison sentence, with 10 years suspended.

• Theft — Of the 49 people charged, 14 were charged with theft. This category includes grand larceny, forgery, embezzlement, automobile theft, false declaration of ownership in pawn, theft from a retailer, possession of stolen property or concealing stolen property and taking or receiving stolen credit or debit cards. Of these cases, four were dismissed and two are still pending. One defendant, who was also charged with burglary, received a 10-year prison sentence, with the last seven years suspended. One was ordered to complete drug court and the remaining defendants received deferred or suspended sentencing.

• Assault — Of the 49 people charged, five were charged with felony assault charges. This category includes domestic assault, aggravated assault, domestic strangulation, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault in the presence of a minor. Of the assault cases, four were dismissed and one received suspended sentencing. Of the dismissals, one was refiled as a misdemeanor and one defendant died.

• Crimes against Children — Of the 49 people charged, seven were charged with felony crimes against children. This category includes child abuse by injury, child endangerment and omitting to provide for a minor child. Of these cases, three are still pending and three were dismissed, one of which was refiled as a misdemeanor. One defendant was ordered to complete drug court.

• Firearm — Of the 49 people charged, one was charged with a felony firearm count and the defendant received suspended sentencing.

• Sex Crimes — Of the 49 people charged, two were charged with felony sex crimes, including both first and second degree rape. Both cases were dismissed.

• Property Assault — Of the 49 people charged, one was charged with malicious injury to property valued more than $1,000. This case was dismissed.



The Outcome - March 2012

Due to the fact that felony cases in March 2013 are new filings, the outcomes of those cases could not be determined. However, the News-Capital checked the final outcome of the felony case filings for March 2012 and here is what was found:

• There were 18 felony charges and/or cases dismissed. Two of those dismissals occurred after the cases were refiled as misdemeanors and one of the cases, an assault case, was dismissed because the defendant died. One other case was dismissed because federal charges were expected to be filed.

• There were 13 felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty or no contest and sentencing was deferred.

• There were 10 felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty or no contest and received suspended sentencing.

• There were two felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty and received prison or jail time. One received a 10-year sentence, with the last seven years suspended, in a theft/burglary case and one received a 16-year sentence, with the last 10 years suspended, in a drug- or alcohol- related case.

• Five of the felony cases in March 2013 are still pending. Three are cases involving crimes against children and two are theft cases.

• Three of the defendants were ordered to complete District 18 Drug Court. This occurred in a drug case, a theft case and a case involving crime against children. Typically, if drug court is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed. However, if drug court is not successfully completed, the defendant is sentenced to serve prison time.

Information on felony case filings in Pittsburg County District Court is public record and can be obtained at the courthouse at 122 E. Carl Albert Parkway in McAlester.



Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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