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February 26, 2014

Judge deems man fit for trial, rules probable cause in murder case

CHICKASHA — A friend of murder victim Sara Maisano recalled being struck repeatedly by Steven Thompson before he hit Maisano at a home in Amber.

Katie Garner was the first of three witnesses to take the stand during a preliminary hearing in Thompson’s first-degree murder trial Tuesday in Grady County District Court.

Garner retold the events she could remember on June 26 leading up to the murder of her friend, Sara Maisano, 23, of Norman.

Thompson, 27, is facing a first-degree murder charge for Maisano’s death. He also is facing an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge after allegedly severely beating Garner.

At the end of all testimony Tuesday, Grady County Special Judge Timothy Brauer said there was enough evidence to establish probable cause and deemed Thompson fit for trial. Brauer set a formal arraignment for 1:30 p.m. March 13.

Garner and Thompson were engaged at the time the events unfolded in their Amber home. Defense attorney Mitch Solomon questioned Garner about Thompson being upset with her relationship with Maisano, but Garner said she couldn’t remember.

Thompson’s cousin, James Luke, also took the stand Tuesday, recalling phone conversations he had with Thompson the morning after the June 26 incident. Luke said Thompson told him he found out Garner was cheating on him and shot her girlfriend.

The women worked at Norman Regional Hospital together for about six months, during which time they became friends, Garner said. Maisano was planning on staying with Garner that night because they had the same work shift the next day and Maisano had been having problems at home.

When the women got to the Amber residence, Thompson was acting “odd,” Garner said.

Thompson came out to the car, banging on Garner’s driver’s side window, got a bottle of liquor out of the car that Garner had picked up for him and went back into the house. Seconds later, he came out of the house with a shotgun before Garner told him to go back into the house, which he did.

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