Tahlequah Daily Press

May 13, 2013

Ryals gets 10 years in plea deal

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man is set to spend about 10 years in prison as part of two plea agreements with prosecutors.

Steven Lee Ryals, 27, was charged in March with unauthorized use of a vehicle, and a few days later was charged with first-degree burglary.

Ryals pleaded no contest to the unauthorized-use charge and to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree burglary, and was given 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years suspended, for both cases. Both sentences will run concurrently.

Ryals was also ordered to be under probation and parole supervision when he is released from prison.

Prosecutors alleged Ryals was driving a 1999 Chevrolet truck, which belonged to the Cherokee Heritage Center, in February. The truck was reported stolen from the center Feb. 9.

A security officer for Cherokee Nation spotted the truck and tried to catch up to it, but the driver turned onto a dirt road and was able to ditch the officer.

Tahlequah police later spotted the truck at a local store. Ryals was also present and was trying to put air into a tire on the truck, but a check of records indicated Ryals was not wanted by authorities.

Shortly after police left, they learned the truck had been reported stolen. They returned to the store and found the truck, by Ryals was gone.

Court records show Ryals has a lengthy list of previous criminal charges in Cherokee County, and has been arrested several times in 2013.