Crime and Justice (67)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 17:34

Newcastle Police aide county sheriff

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By Darla Welchel

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Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir was certainly singing the praise of Newcastle Assistant Police Chief Gary Boggess when he found himself in a high-speed car chase last Friday.

After reaching speeds in access of 130 mph, the suspect crashed a $90,000 stolen Mercedes sports car and attempted to flee on foot. Assistant Police Chief Boggess, with the help of PHP Trooper Pitman, chased him for one half mile before apprehending him, Weir said. 

Around 8:20 a.m. on August 15, Weir said he received an OHP bolo for a stolen pearl white Mercedes SL convertible, which was just seen heading north on I-44 near the Chickasha tollgate.

“I was traveling south on I-44 when I observed a white Mercedes SL550 northbound at approximately the 100 mile marker,” he said. “I caught up with the vehicle and ran the tag displayed, which showed not in file meaning it was stolen.”

The sheriff called for backup but pulled up next to the car to get a look at the driver for identification purposes, he said.  As he pulled up next to the Mercedes, the driver, later identified as Aaron Christopher Rhodes, motioned to him as if asking if the sheriff wanted him to pull over.

“Being the only unit at the time, I shook my head no and fell back. Rhodes slowed to about 60 mph and continued northbound,” Weir said. 

When backup arrived, Weir had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle and “engaged” his emergency lights and sirens. This action prompted Rhodes to accelerate reaching speeds over 120 mph. 

“My vehicle topped out at 120 mph, and Rhodes was pulling away from me very quickly,” he said. “Assistant Chief Boggess was had been monitoring radio traffic and was north bound on I-44 around mile marker 108 when Rhodes passed him in excess of 130 mph.

“Boggess said he was a little nervous, because there was a curve coming up and Rhodes’ vehicle was drifting, and he was afraid the suspect was going to hit heavy traffic.” 

Rhodes drove the Mercedes into the rear of a gray Silverado pickup. He lost control of the sports car slamming it into the center cable barricade where is came to rest more than 200 feet away, Weir said. 

That is when Rhodes attempted to elude arrest by trying to run away. But Boggess and the trooper got their man and Rhodes was arrested in Grady County, he said. 

The Mercedes was searched at the scene, where it was confirmed as the car stolen from the Lawton area, Weir said. Also, Newcastle Master Patrolman Holden found a Visa debit card and a social security card in Rhodes’ pocket at the time of his arrest in the name of Jerry Dean Frewaldt.

“Lawton P.D. advised these items were taken during a second burglary and had been used the morning of the burglary,” he said.

Newcastle Police Department worked the accident, recovered and impounded the stolen sports car, Weir said. 

“I believe the facts demonstrate probable cause to charge the defendant with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, felony eluding a peace officer and speeding,” he said.



Wednesday, 06 August 2014 17:50

Fatal shooting in Blanchard

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By Darla Welchel

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Blanchard police were called to investigate shots fired at Gator's Deli early Wednesday morning, what they discovered had them calling for assistance of the McClain County Sheriiffs Department.

Sheriff Don Hewett made a statement that at 9:57 a.m. a call for assistance came in from the Blanchard Police Department on a possible homicide at 1235 NE 10th Street in Blanchard.

Hewett sent four deputies and two detectives to the scene in which they discovered a woman had been shot and one suspect had been taken in to custody, he said. Allegedly the man walked into the store and shot and killed his wife; the couple had been going through a divorce.

A Victim's Protective Order against the suspect had expired just12 days ago, Hewett said. He commented that both the suspect and the victim were well respected business members in the community. 


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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is stepping up its search for clues in the death of a McClain County mother.

OSBI announced Friday it would offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the death of Rachelle Flowers, according to a written statement from OSBI.

Clinton Flowers, Rachelle’s husband, is also offering a reward up to $1,000.

McClain County Sheriff Don Hewitt hopes test results from DNA evidence found at the scene will yield some answers, he said.

McClain County deputies on a routine patrol Wednesday afternoon, April 9, found Rachelle dead, inside her home, after seeing an unattended pickup truck in a state of disarray in front of the house.

Two people were seen in front of the Flowers’ home the morning she was discovered, according to the report.

A white female was standing in the front yard around 11:30 a.m. and a white male with dark hair, between 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 5 inches, walked toward the house at some time in the morning, according to the report.

“These descriptions are based off of evidence as well as prior knowledge of previous circumstances, including people the victim knew,” Hewett said. “We have some leads but no suspects at this time.”

Investigators at the scene found evidence that caused them to label the death suspicious. OSBI was notified and joined the McClain County Sheriff’s Department in investigating the death as a possible non-accidental homicide. 

Rachelle had a son, 6, and was married for a little more than a month before her death.

Though the investigators have more evidence than when they started, they are now offering the reward because more information is needed to fill in the knowledge gaps, OSBI Public Information Officer Jessica Brown said.

Anyone with information about the two people of interest, or any other aspect of the case, can call the McClain County Sheriff’s Department at 40-527-2141 or the OSBI hotline at 800-522-8017.

“We’re trying to get closure for the family,” Hewett said. “We want to bring someone to justice.”


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Newcastle police arrested a convicted felon Wednesday, May 7, after he allegedly tried to shoplift more than $350 worth of merchandise from a local Walmart Supercenter.

Steven Beaty, of Moore, tried to push a shopping cart loaded with groceries and various clothing items out the front door of the store without paying for them, according to a police report of the incident.

When Walmart Asset Protection employee Lyndsay Stark tried to stop Beaty, he abandoned the cart and items, shoved her out of his way and ran out of the store, Stark said in a statement to police.

After Stark called police to report the loss, arresting officer Steve Edmonds pursued Beaty to a Dollar General across the street, Edmonds said.

Beaty fled into the store as soon as he saw the officer, but Edmonds pursued and arrested him.

After the arrest, another officer, C.S. Brooks, found a loaded, .45 caliber pistol behind a display case outside of the Dollar General. The gun was reported stolen from somewhere in Tuttle, according to the report.

Beaty admitted the gun was on him at the time of his arrest and that he had managed to hide it immediately after Edmonds first detained himbut before he was patted down and searched, according to the report.

Beaty told police he was not trying to steal anything from Walmart but that he was shopping, while waiting on his ex-girlfriend, Autumn Rose, to meet him at the store, he said.

Beaty was walking to the front of the store to see if Rose had arrived when Stark confronted him and her accusations of stealing scared him, causing him to run, according to his statement.

Beaty also told police a friend gave him the gun to use for protection against “the dudes” his ex-girlfriend sends after him and he did not know the weapon was stolen, according to the report.

Edmond’s report stated another man, whom Beaty identified as his friend, Luke Farrington, was initially detained at the Dollar General but was released after questioning.

Walmart is pressing larceny charges against the 31-year-old Beaty, who is also charged with carrying a firearm, a criminal offense for a felon, and knowingly possessing stolen property, according to the report.


Monday, 21 April 2014 15:42

SWOSU campus on lockdown after gunman reported

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Update - 1:04 p.m. 

The lockdown on the Weatherford campus of SWOSU has been lifted.

The lockdown was lifted at about 11:15 a.m. after authorities conducted a sweep for a reported gunman near Campbell Hall.

Additional officers remain on the campus as an added security measure, however all buildings and classes have returned to normal activity.

The main campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State Univeristy (SWOSU) is currently on a precautionary lockdown as officers search for a reported gunman.

At around 10:30 a.m. Monday, university officials sent out a campuswide alert stating that SWOSU's main campus in Weatherford was on lockdown after a gunman was reported in the Campbell building, home to the university's communications and theatre programs, as well as division offices for mathematics, along with the language and literature department. 

Campbell is located on E. Davis Street, across from residency halls, on the northeast corner of the campus.

Officers are currently searching the campus, however no shots have been reported. 

Friday, 18 April 2014 19:15

Wreck sends three to hospital

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Three people, including an infant, were sent to the hospital Friday afternoon after a driver blacked out and struck six vehicles on Main Street.

At about 1 p.m. Friday, April 18, a male driver in a red pickup blacked out travelling northbound near NW 10th Street, according to a preliminary report by Newcastle Police.

The driver accelerated, striking a vehicle occupied by a female driver and an infant child travelling southbound on Main in front of Main Street Florist, according to eyewitness accounts. The driver then went off the road into the parking lot in front of Newcastle Tag Agency, crashing through a metal pipe railing, striking an unoccupied vehicle across the parking lot of Garcia's Concrete.

The driver then struck a company truck before hitting a parked white SUV, rolling it over a railing and onto its side. The driver then came to a stop at the railing, according to police reports.

The driver of the first vehicle told authorities she had injuries on her side, however the infant was uninjured, according to police. Both subjects along with the driver were transported to area hospitals.

Traffic was reduced to one lane heading south for about 20 minutes following the wreck. Police officials declined to identify the victims or the driver. The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Police officials did not say if alcohol was a factor in the wreck.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014 21:32

Moore man arrested for stolen vehicle

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A Moore man found himself behind bars for possession of a stolen vehicle in Newcastle, days before he was due in court in Purcell on another case for another stolen vehicle.

On April 4, Newcastle police came across a vehicle in the Newcastle Casino parking lot that was reported stolen out of Midwest City, according to a report provided by NPD. Security cameras showed a male and a female exiting the vehicle and entering the casino. 

While police were processing the vehicle the driver, later identified as Byron Ronquillo, 27 of Moore, was watching from the casino entrance, the report stated. When approached by officers, Ronquillo told police he was dropped off by a friend, giving officers the name “Maynor Ronquillo.”

At the same time the female passenger, later identified as Ciara Dyer, 23 of Oklahoma City, was trying to leave with the wrecker towing the stolen vehicle, according to the report. 

Ronquillo and Dyer were arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. While inventorying Dyer’s purse, officers found bond paperwork for a Byron Ronquillo. When officers asked Dyer who that was, she indicated to the cell Ronquillo was in. Officers added an obstruction of a police officer charge for Ronquillo for giving a false name.

Both arrestees were transported to McClain County Jail in Purcell. According to court records, Ronquillo was due in court April 11 on another unauthorized use case, the day after formal charges were filed by prosecutors. 

Both Dyer and Ronquillo are due back in court April 23. 

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The McClain County Sheriff's Department is assisting the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) as they investigate the suspicious death of a newly-married wife and mother of one.

Deputies on routine patrol near the intersection of 290th Street and May Avenue, about three miles south of Newcastle city limits, came across an unattended brown pickup with doors open near a home Wednesday afternoon on April 9, McClain County Sheriff Don Hewett said.

Inside the pickup, deputies found the truck in disarray, along with a purse and cell phone. While investigating the truck, deputies smelled an odor of propane coming from the nearby house, Hewett said.

The deputy on scene called for backup, and once another deputy arrived they entered the home, Hewett said. Inside, they found the body of Rachelle Lyn Flowers, 24, who lived at the home with her husband of one and a half months, Clinton, and her six-year old son.

Evidence found on scene led deputies to label the death suspicious, and OSBI was called to help with the investigation as a possible non-accidental homicide. OSBI investigators left the property at about 3 a.m. Thursday, relatives said.

Flowers' husband and relatives declined to be interviewed, requesting privacy for the family to mourn.

An autopsy is pending with the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner, and no official cause of death has been determined.

The death is believed to have occurred between 10 a.m. and noon April 9. Anyone with knowledge or details are urged to call the McClain County Sheriff's Office at (405) 527-2141.


Friday, 04 April 2014 19:52

Police issue short-lived alert for missing boy

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An alert put out for a missing child with developmental disabilities by Newcastle Police was rescinded almost immediately because the child had been found.

At about 2 p.m. Friday, April 4, NPD took a report on a missing child with developmental disabilities who lived with his grandparents, police officials said. The child was reported to have run away after getting into an argument with his grandparents.

Police officials put out an automated Connect-CTY phone call to alert the public to the missing child when he was located by his grandparents. Police then made another Connect-CTY call to notify residents the child had been found.

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Update - 1:44 p.m. April 3

Logan County deputies have made three arrests in connection with Masters' death since this story went to press.

Brandy Kathryn Hanson, 26, and Johnny Dean Snow, 49, both of McAlester, along with Angel Eva Munoz, 24 of Oklahoma City, were arrested on murder complaints and booked into the Logan County Jail on Wednesday, April 2. 

All three people were identified as the last people to be seen with Masters before his disappearance. 

Police are still looking for other people who may have had contact with Masters or the three arrestees before Masters' death. Anyone with information is urged to call investigators at (405) 282-4100.


A body found bound and burned on a rural Logan County road has been identified as a Bridge Creek man. 

On Jan. 31, a fire crew battling a grass fire near Langston discovered a burned male body with his hands and feet tied in the middle of the road, south of County Road 75 and Hiwassee Road. 

Officials with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spent the next two months releasing identification information, including sketches of two tattoos, in hopes of the public helping to identify the remains. 

Citizens who recognized Masters from media reports made the identification, Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens said. 

Voter registration information placed Masters’ home address in northern Bridge Creek, near Tuttle. Grady County Sheriff’s Office officials were unable to locate a missing persons’ report for Masters, and suspect he may have been living elsewhere at the time. 

A cause of death or suspect information has not been released. The investigation into Masters’ death is ongoing, Stephens said.


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