Cop Cleared in Fiery Death of Oklahoma Man

December 15, 2017
By David Lee

PURCELL, Okla. (CN) – An Oklahoma prosecutor cleared a cop Thursday of wrongdoing in the Taser shooting of an apparently suicidal man doused in gasoline who caught fire and died.

McClain County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Lindsay, Okla., Officer Brian Guthrie’s actions were “appropriate under the law” when he shot Dana Carrothers, 52, of Norman. Mashburn also said Guthrie would not be prosecuted, in a letter issued Thursday.

Mashburn said it was unclear if the fire was started by the Taser or by a lighter Carrothers was holding at the time.

According to the DA, law enforcement began searching for Carrothers on Nov. 7 when a friend reported finding a suicide note after confronting him about allegedly sexually assaulting her relative.

Guthrie and Officer Kyle Phillips located Carrothers in his truck later that night. He refused to leave the vehicle and appeared to be pouring liquid out of a red can, according to Mashburn.

“Finally, Carrothers exited the truck with a lighter in his hand. He did not smell of gasoline. He was ordered to the ground numerous times but did not respond,” Mashburn wrote in the letter, as reported by The Oklahoman newspaper. “He then turned to the truck as if to get in. Officer Guthrie, fearing that Carrothers would return to the truck where he may have access to a weapon and harm an officer, deployed his Taser.”

Mashburn said Guthrie grabbed Carrothers to put out the fire before he “broke contact” and suffered first and second-degree burns to his arms and face.

“As officer Guthrie was trying to get his burning clothes off, Carrothers got back in his truck,” the letter stated. “There was a loud explosion and Carrothers was sitting in the front driver’s seat. He made no effort to get out and stayed in the truck until he died.”

Mashburn said that, according to Norman police, Carrothers had tried to kill himself two other times.

From Courthouse News.

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Oklahoma State Senator Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Crime

December 1, 2017
By David Lee

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – A disgraced former Oklahoma state senator pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal child sex trafficking charge, admitting that he solicited a teenage boy to have sex at a hotel.

Ralph Shortey, 35, R-Oklahoma City, ignored reporters as he entered the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City. He was charged in September with two counts of transportation of child pornography, production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the first three charges in exchange for his plea. He faces 10 years to life in federal prison and will be sentenced in 2018.

Shortey will not be further prosecuted for “his transportation, possession or production of child pornography or child sex trafficking during the period from October 2013 through March 9, 2017,” in exchange for his guilty plea, the 10-page plea agreement states.

Shortey, an early supporter of President Donald Trump, is a married father of four.

Prosecutors said the unidentified teenage boy told Shortey on the Kik messaging app on March 8 that he needed money for spring break.

“I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now,” Shortey replied. “Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”

The indictment stated Shortey later drove the boy to a Super 8 Motel in Moore and rented a room with his credit card. Police say the boy’s father told them his son “has a history of soliciting himself” for sex on Craigslist and that they found the two in a room with a strong odor of marijuana, a bottle of lotion and an open box of condoms.

The Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a resolution stripping Shortey of his powers and kicked him out of his Capitol office in March, shortly after he was found with the teenage boy. He resigned days later.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn filed state charges against Shortey, but dismissed them after federal prosecutors filed their case.

From Courthouse News.