Charges Dropped Against Men Who Arrested Teen-ager
FREDERICK, Okla. (AP) _ Felony charges have been dropped against four men who were accused of arresting a teen-ager at gunpoint during a citizen crime-watch patrol.
Associate Tillman County District Judge Harrison Roe ruled Wednesday there was insufficient evidence to find that the men had committed a crime during the citizens’ arrest April 9.
The four had followed the car of Chuck Wilkins, 18, as he drove around town at midnight April 9, forced him to stop at a roadblock, and ordered him out of his car at gunpoint, said Police Chief John Stowe.
Jerry Heap, Jim Gallagher, Don Dunham and Bob Rhodes were charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap, feloniously pointing a weapon and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. They also were charged with making an arrest without lawful authority, a misdemeanor.
District Attorney Steve Suttle said he would appeal Roe’s ruling that dropped the felony charges. The misdemeanor charge is pending.
Wilkins, an honor student at Frederick High School, testified that after he dropped off a friend that night, a car drove up and ″flashed his lights and honked his horn.″
The teen said an occupant in the car told him to ″get out of your car and put your hands on your hood. You’re under arrest.″
He said he was questioned and forced to lie down in a pickup truck.
Wilkins testified he then suggested he be taken to the police station, where he was released. A police officer testified that no incident report was filed with the police department because no charges were made at that time.
The citizens patrol followed a rash of burglaries here.
Wilkins testified he has had several run-ins with police, but has never committed a burglary, been convicted of a felony or judged to be a delinquent.
Defense attorney Tony Massad argued that no kidnapping occurred because the men took the teen-ager to the police department at the youth’s request.