McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

April 27, 2014

DA's office files charge in Hartshorne manslaughter case

McALESTER — A Hartshorne man has been charged with manslaughter in the November death of his girlfriend.

Benny Dale Williams, 67, faces a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Kathryn Sparling, who died after she was ran over in Williams’ driveway on Nov. 1, 2013, according to police and court reports.

The charge alleges that Williams caused Sparling’s death by driving his 2011 Chevrolet pickup “in a careless and reckless manner.”

Williams pleaded innocent to the charge in an April 16 initial appearance at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. Special District Judge Tim Mills set a preliminary hearing conference, when a preliminary hearing date is expected to be scheduled, on May 16. Mills also set an OR bond in the case, which means Williams remained free on his own recognizance.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent John Jones alleges Hartshorne Police Chief Jimmy Don Wilson told him that Williams had backed over Sparling at Williams’ residence on Lehigh Street in Hartshorne.

During the investigation into Sparling’s death, Williams told Jones that he had decided to leave his residence in order to get away from an argument.

“When Williams got into his pickup, Sparling was still inside the home,” Jones said in his affidavit, based on what Williams allegedly told him.

“Williams backed out normally, when he felt something ‘bump,”’ the affidavit states.

“Williams heard Sparling yell ‘Benny, stop,”’ the affidavit continues.

“ When he heard Sparling yell ‘Benny, stop,’ he pulled forward quickly to get away from Sparling, the affidavit states.

“Williams pulled forward quickly to get away from Sparling,” the affidavit alleges. “When Williams pulled forward, he may have spun his tires,” Jones also alleges in the affidavit.

“Williams checked on Sparling and asked a passer-by to call 911,” Jones’ affidavit states.

A neighbor told OSBI Agent John Graham that she heard a “screech” of tires, a scream, then a second “screech” of tires, according to allegations in the affidavit.

When she ran outside, she saw a woman lying on Williams’ driveway, with Williams standing next to her, the affidavit continues. The neighbor then ran inside and called for an ambulance according to the affidavit.

Asked about the time that had elapsed since Sparling’s death last November and the filing of the charge more than five months later, District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Danita Williams said the DA’s office had been awaiting the complete reports from the state Medical Examiner’s office.

Williams said she filed the charge within a few days after receiving the Medical Examiner’s report.

OSBI Agent Jones  stated in the probable cause affidavit that the Sparling’s death was caused by “multiple blunt force trauma.”

Calls to Williams’ attorney Ronnie May, were not returned by press time. A worker in May’s law office said he was out of the office on Friday.

Upon conviction the crime of first-degree manslaughter is punishable by not less than four years in prison.

Contact James Beaty at


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