The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

July 30, 2013

Former judge charged with cattle theft

NORMAN — The leader of a confessed cattle theft ring was handed four indictments by an Oklahoma multi-county grand jury Thursday.

Former Lincoln County District Judge Craig Key, 48, of Chandler, was charged with 26 felony charges, including embezzlement and cattle theft.

Key was handed five indictment charges in April and May. The charges were sealed until Thursday.

Kent Dowell, special ranger with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association who led the investigation into the cattle theft charges, said that in October, 11 head of cattle were allegedly stolen from a northern Lincoln County rancher, on Key’s instructions.

Further investigations by Dowell revealed that Key was involved in numerous fraud and embezzlement schemes.

Key, a former attorney, allegedly embezzled more than $475,000 from his clients, according to the Oklahoma General Attorney’s Office who investigated him on other charges.

Four other defendants also were charged in connection with the crimes.

“This is (a) very complex investigation involving multiple suspects and multiple crimes,” Dowell said. “At the end of the day, though, this investigation started with a rancher noticing his cattle were missing, and thankfully we were able to locate those stolen cattle and return them back to the owner.”

The grand jury will reconvene Aug. 20-22 to hear more witness statements.

Dowell said he expects more indictments to be handed down, including charges for racketeering.

Key bonded out of the Lincoln County Jail on Friday.

TSCRA said they would like to thank Attorney General Investigator David Driscoll for his hard work on the investigation.

TSCRA has 29 special rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. All are commissioned as special rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

TSCRA is a 136-year-old trade association and the largest, oldest livestock organization based in Texas. It has more than 16,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members.

The members represent about 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage four million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma but also throughout the Southwest.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Crime/Courts
  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Sunday: · 12:03 a.m. vandalism, 100 block of 12th Avenue Southeast · 6:42 a.m. burglary report, 300 block of 12th Avenue Southeast · 9:21 a.m. vandalism, 1500 block of North ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Jason Ashley Shannon, 35, possession of controlled dangerous substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia; driving with a ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Bail set for one more in homicide

    A hearing for the state’s motion to hold two suspects without bail in connection with the homicide of Justin Barnard, 24, of Norman, was continued Monday in Cleveland County District Court. Special Judge Steve Stice overruled the motion ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Lucky ducky

    The 200-pound plaster duck known as “Samo Ducky,” located near the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave. in Lions Park and reported missing on Thursday, has been located, according to the Norman Police Department....

    April 12, 2014

  • DSE_SamoDucky ‘Samo Ducky’ taken from Firehouse Art Center in Norman

    The 200-pound plaster duck known as “Samo Ducky,” located near the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave. in Lions Park, has been reported missing, FAC Executive Director Douglas Shaw Elder said....

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police academy 10 Norman Police Department cadets take oath

    Eleven police cadets stood at attention and took the oath that turned them into Norman police officers Thursday afternoon at the Norman Masonic Lodge. They had been escorted by the Oklahoma Scottish Pipes and Drums, honored by police ...

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two charged with selling alcohol to minor

    After underage confidential informants conducted alcohol compliance checks with the ABLE Commission in January, two restaurant workers were charged Wednesday for selling alcohol to a minor....

    April 11, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 10:04 a.m. harassment or threats reports, 1900 block of Fillmore Avenue · 10:21 a.m. larceny report, 4400 block of West Main Street · 10:37 a.m. fraud, 2300 block ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Jacob Neal Higgins, 23, false declaration in ownership of pawn · Michael Aaron Schmidt, 22, grand larceny, false declaration ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Two plead guilty in murder

    Earlier this week, a man charged with first-degree murder waived his Monday jury trial and pleaded guilty to the murder charge and four other counts. Court records show Gilbert Paz, 38, of Weatherford, pleaded guilty to first-degree ...

    April 10, 2014