Tahlequah Daily Press

April 11, 2013

Local laundry burglar pleads no contest

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man arrested in February for breaking into a laundry facility at the Cherokee Hills Apartment pleaded no contest Wednesday and was given a 20-year sentence.

Derek W. Fleming, 23, was initially charged with child neglect, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and second-degree burglary. As part of the plea agreement, the child-neglect charge was dismissed, and Fleming was given a 20-year suspended sentence on the other two counts, with half of that time suspended. Fleming was given credit for the time he’s already served in jail.

Tahlequah police arrested Fleming Feb. 27 after he allegedly broke into the laundry facility and was captured. Officers said Fleming also had methamphetamine in his possession, along with several items of paraphernalia.

After Fleming was arrested that night, officers learned he had a 2-year-old child that was left home alone. The child was found asleep on a bed, and was wearing a “heavily-soiled diaper” and was on a urine-stained mattress, police said.