By Rachel Petersen
There were more felony case filings at the Pittsburg County Courthouse in February 2013 than there were in February 2012, an investigation of case records show. In fact, there were more than twice as many felony case filings in 2013.
In February 2013, there were 79 felony cases filed. Since multiple people can be charged in a single case, there were 99 people charged with one or more felony counts in those 79 cases.
In February 2012, there were 32 felony cases filed in which 35 people were charged with one or more felony counts.
In comparing the February felony case filings in both years, an investigation of court records reveals:
• There were three-times more drug and alcohol- related felonies filed in January 2012 than in January 2013.
• Theft cases increased by more than 25 percent in January 2013 as compared to January 2012.
• There were seven burglary and robbery felony case filings in 2013 and only one in 2012.
• The number of felony assault charges nearly doubled in 2013.
• There was only one firearm charge filed in 2013 whereas there were two cases in 2012.
• Crimes against children increased by one felony case in 2013 — three were filed in 2012 and four were filed in 2013.
• Felony arson cases stayed the same — there was one arson case filed in 2012 and one filed in 2013.
• In 2012 there were three felony conspiracy cases and one felony eluding case. There were no felony conspiracy or eluding cases filed in 2013.
• In 2013 there were 19 cases involving inmate crime filed. There were no inmate crime cases filed in 2012.
• In 2013 there were three manslaughter cases and two kidnapping cases filed. There were no manslaughter or kidnapping cases filed in 2012.
• In 2013 there was one sex crime case filed and none in 2012.
• In 2013 there was one felony animal crime case filed and none in 2012.
The Breakdown - February 2013
• Drug and/or Alcohol — Of the 99 people charged with felony counts, 44 were charged with drug or alcohol- related charges. This category includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of drugs (including methamphetamine, Xanax, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Cocaine, Marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids), possession of drugs with intent to distribute, unlawful delivery of drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine or endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of drugs near a school or park and maintaining a place for keeping /selling drugs.
• Theft — Of the 99 people charged, 20 were charged with theft. This category includes grand larceny, automobile theft, concealing stolen property, embezzlement, unauthorized use of a credit card, theft from a person and theft from a retailer.
• Burglary and Robbery — Of the 99 people charged, 7 were charged with burglary or robbery. This category includes both first and second degree burglary as well as robbery by force or fear.
• Assault — Of the 99 people charged, 11 were charged with assault. This category includes domestic assault and battery, domestic assault by strangulation, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to commit a felony and assault on a correctional officer or government employee (including prisoner placing bodily fluid on officer).
• Firearm —Of the 99 people charged, one had a firearm- related charge. The firearm charge was possession of a firearm after a former conviction of a felony.
• Inmate Crime — Of the 99 people charged, 19 were inmates at JBCC or OSP. This category includes escape, assault on an officer or government employee, possession of contraband (drugs or cell phone) and bringing contraband into a penal institution.
• Sex Crimes — Of the 99 people charged, one is facing a felony sex crime charge. The charge is sexual battery.
• Crimes against Children — Of the 99 people charged, four are accused of crimes against children. This category includes child abuse, kidnapping and child neglect.
• Manslaughter — Of the 99 people charged, three were charged in the same case with second degree manslaughter.
• Kidnapping — Of the 99 people charged, two were charged with kidnapping.
• Arson — Of the 99 people charged, one was charged with second degree arson.
• Crimes against Animals — Of the 99 people charged, one was accused of felony animal cruelty.
The Breakdown - February 2012
• Drug and/or Alcohol — Of the 35 people charged with felony counts in January 2013, 14 were charged with drug or alcohol- related charges. This category includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of drugs (methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine), possession of drugs with intent to distribute and maintaining a place for keeping and selling drugs. Although three of these charges are still pending, there were no dismissals of these cases. One defendant received a 15-day jail sentence.
• Theft — Of the 35 people charged, 13 were charged with theft. This category includes grand larceny, forgery, embezzlement, automobile theft, obtaining property by trick or deception, theft from a home, theft from a person and false personation (identity theft). Of these cases, seven were dismissed and one is still pending. One defendant received a four-year prison sentence. The remaining defendants received deferred or suspended sentencing.
• Burglary — Of the 35 people charged, one was charged with felony first degree burglary. Sentencing was deferred for the defendant.
• Assault — Of the 35 people charged, six were charged with felony assault charges. This category includes domestic assault, aggravated assault, domestic strangulation, assault on a police officer and assault with a dangerous weapon. Of the assault cases, half were dismissed and half received deferred or suspended sentencing.
• Crimes against Children — Of the 35 people charged, three were charged with felony crimes against children. All three cases included counts of child abuse by neglect. Two of these cases were dismissed and the other defendant received deferred sentencing.
• Firearm — Of the 35 people charged, two were charged with a felony firearm counts. Both charges were dismissed.
• Conspiracy — Of the 35 people charged, three were charged with felony conspiracy. All conspiracy charges were dismissed.
• Arson — Of the 35 people charged, one was charged with second degree arson. This case is still pending.
• Eluding — Of the 35 people charged, one was charged with endangering others while eluding a police officer. The defendant received a suspended sentence.
The Outcome - January 2012
Due to the fact that felony cases in February 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 February 2012 and here is what was found:
• There were 13 felony charges and/or cases dismissed. Three of those dismissals occurred after the cases were refiled as misdemeanors. And one of the cases, a conspiracy and theft case, was dismissed because the defendant died.
• There were 14 felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty or no contest and sentencing was deferred. Of these cases, one was burglary, one was a crime against a child, four were theft, two were assault and the rest were drug and/or alcohol- related.
• There were five felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty or no contest and received suspended sentencing. Of these cases, two were drug or alcohol related crimes, one was theft, one was assault and one was eluding.
• There were two felony charges or cases that defendants pleaded guilty and received prison or jail time. One received a 15-day jail sentence followed by a suspended sentence in a drug/alcohol case and the other received a four-year prison sentence followed by a suspended sentence in a theft case.
• Five of the felony cases in February 2013 are still pending. Three are drug and/or alcohol- related cases, one is a theft case and the other is an arson case.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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