Tahlequah Daily Press

November 29, 2012

Officials say fugitive’s wife was aiding and abetting

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators are asking prosecutors to file charges against the imprisoned wife of a fugitive who was arrested last week in Muskogee.

Investigator James Brown is requesting that Christie E. Vaughn, 44, be charged with aiding and abetting.

Vaughn married Richard James Kessinger Sr., 58, last May, about two months after she and Kessinger were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.

Vaughn was sent to prison at Hillside Community Correctional Center in Oklahoma City for the methamphetamine charges, but Kessinger bonded out of jail, and until this month had been sought by authorities for failing to register as a sex offender and for the pending meth charges.

Brown’s request that Vaughn face new charges is based on a series of recorded phone calls she reportedly had from inside prison with Kessinger and her mother, Dawn M. Cain, 61.

Cain was arrested earlier this month in Cherokee County for harboring a fugitive and aiding and abetting, and allegedly admitted she had transported Kessinger around. Authorities captured Kessinger in Muskogee just a few days later, where they also arrested Veronica M. Crow, 63, on accusations of harboring a fugitive.

According to Brown, officers at the Oklahoma City prison provided several recorded calls among Vaughn, Kessinger and Cain. During one call, Kessinger reportedly asked Vaughn if she could secure an identification for him to get into the prison, but Vaughn told him she couldn’t because the prisoners are well-guarded.

Vaughn also allegedly told Kessinger to call a lawyer in Stilwell to help with his case. During that same call, Vaughn reportedly talked to Cain and asked her mother if Kessinger could stay at another house in Cherokee County. Brown said the house mentioned in the conversation is the one at which Kessinger and Vaughn were arrested for manufacturing meth earlier this year, and Cain allegedly agreed Kessinger could go there.

During a second phone call, Vaughn told Kessinger he should contact some people and they would hide him, Brown said. Vaughn indicated she could find a place for Kessinger to hide out in Stilwell.

Cain reportedly told Vaughn during a third phone call that Kessinger had been staying somewhere in the Gideon area; and in a fourth call, Cain allegedly told her daughter she transported Kessinger to a float operation along State Highway 10 to pick up some tools and a battery to fix Crow’s car that had broken down.

During another call, Kessinger told Vaughn he might “go east,” where he has family, Brown said. Kessinger also told his wife he had stayed with Cain.

Cain, in another call, allegedly told Vaughn that Kessinger was still staying at her house.

Brown said most of the phone calls among the three were around 15 minutes long. His report on the case has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.

Kessinger and Crow were booked into jail in Muskogee County after their arrest last week. Crow has formally been charged with harboring a fugitive from justice, a felony, and is due back in court there in December. Kessinger was formally charged in Muskogee County with failure to notify address change as a sex offender, a felony, and will also face his ongoing court cases in Cherokee County.

Neither Cain nor Vaughn had been formally charged in Cherokee County District Court as of Wednesday.