Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 1, 2012

Pritchett found guilty on three counts

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man was found guilty of robbery, kidnapping and first-degree burglary in a February 2011 home invasion after jurors deliberated several hours Thursday.

Jurors recommended Jarrod Pritchett, 20, serve 30 years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for robbery, 12 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for burglary. He was found not guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

After the verdict was read and the sentencing date set, Jarrod Pritchett smiled as he was being handcuffed, and told officers he wasn’t going to run. He whistled as he was led out of the courtroom.

District Judge Darrell Shepherd set sentencing for July 6 at 10 a.m. Jarrod Pritchett must serve at least 85 percent of the sentences for robbery and burglary before he will be eligible for parole.

Jarrod was accused of working with Curtis Pritchett and Chad Russell to force their way into the home of J.D. and Karen Carey in early February 2011. During the trial, Curtis Pritchett and Russell both testified and confessed to their roles in the home invasion, and pinpointed Jarrod Pritchett as their accomplice.

The Careys testified the three men were wearing masks when the couple were held against their will under the threat of guns and knives. The suspects took cash, jewelry, firearms, cell phones and other items from the home. J.D. Carey’s hands were tied behind his back during the robbery, and his face was cut with a knife. The couple were eventually taken to a bathroom and left there while the suspects made their getaway.

Russell told jurors the three suspects stole the Careys’ Chrysler car and left the residence. They divided up the other items they’d taken, and later used the cash to buy some beer.

Jarrod Pritchett’s defense attorney, Lawrence Roberson, suggested to jurors that Russell and Curtis Pritchett had implicated Jarrod Pritchett to protect someone else – perhaps Russell’s cousin, who reportedly led police to Russell, Curtis Pritchett and Jarrod Pritchett. He said there was no evidence proving Jarrod Pritchett took part in the crime.

Roberson also urged jurors to consider whether the testimony of Curtis Pritchett and Russell was credible.

District Attorney Brian Kuester, who prosecuted the case, told jurors he had offered 10-year deals for both Curtis Pritchett and Russell in return for their truthful testimony during Jarrod Pritchett’s trial. Curtis and Russell are each charged with robbery, kidnapping and first-degree burglary for their roles in the home invasion.

Kuester, outside of the trial, said the offers were made to the two to build a stronger case against Jarrod Pritchett.

Russell and Curtis Pritchett will both be forced to serve at least 85 percent, or 8-1/2 years, for taking part in the home invasion.

“Everything they did through that night was done in an effort to avoid this day. They were hoping this fateful day would never come... ,” Kuester told jurors during his final statements Thursday. “Today’s the day the Careys receive justice for what was done to them.”

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Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
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