(Stillwater, Okla.) – District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas has dropped a felony charge against a landowner, who was scheduled stand trial on May 14 on an accusation that he shot a 37-year-old man in the back with a .38 caliber revolver on his property east of Perkins.
If he had been convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, Raymond Scott Sewell, now 63, could have been given as much as a seven-year prison term and a $5,000 fine.
The victim, Michael Webb, now 39, arrived in a wheelchair for Sewell’s preliminary hearing that was held in January 2017. Webb said that he now lives in Oklahoma City with his aunt, who takes care of him.
In her motion to dismiss, the DA wrote, “The victim of the crime continues to experience significant memory problems and has multiple medical issues which will prevent the state from establishing guilt beyond the reasonable doubt burden at this time.”
At the preliminary hearing, the victim testified that he had known Sewell for 20 years and had lived on his property in the 4900 block of E. 122nd for six months.
The victim said that he arrived on Sewell’s land at 10 a.m. on April 16, 2016, to get his tools from a camper, but the gate was locked.
On cross-examination from defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey, the victim admitted he went over the fence to get in, but said that he didn’t see a no-trespassing sign.
The victim testified that he was heading back to a van after getting his tools when “I was met by Scott (Sewell) – he was pointing a gun at me.
“I got on the ground. He was screaming, yelling at me. He shot the gun. He first shot the gun in the air, then in the woods.
“He told me ‘lay on the ground.’ We were having some words. I got scared – I got up and ran away from him. I was shot in the back.”
The victim said that he was taken to a hospital by life-flight and placed on life support. He said he now has only one lung and doesn’t know how many surgeries he had.
On cross-examination, the victim admitted that he had been “convicted of weed and meth,” but said he hadn’t taken methamphetamine that day.
During the shooting, the victim said he told Sewell, whom he referred to by his middle name, “I can’t believe you shot me.”
The victim testified, “I didn’t do what he asked me to do. I was running away from him – he shot me in the back.”
The victim said he helps Sewell’s son clean up at a construction site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. He admitted that he knows Sewell’s son is not the property owner.
“Our position is that he is a trespasser. Mr. Sewell was protecting himself,” the defense attorney in court.
According to an affidavit by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Hopper, a 911 call was made to the sheriff’s office at 10:25 a.m. the day of the shooting.
“In the course of the medic checking Webb’s pockets, I observed one medic pull a syringe out of Webb’s front left jeans pocket,” the deputy alleged in his affidavit.
Sewell told the deputy that about a month before, Webb moved his camper onto Sewell’s property and that he believed his son gave Webb permission to be there, the affidavit said.
Sewell said that he told both his son and Webb that “he needs to remove his trailer and get off the property,” the affidavit alleged.
“Raymond (Sewell) said that several times in the past that Webb has made threats of violence towards him. He says that at one point, Webb had actually threatened to kill him,” the affidavit alleged.
“Raymond says he had his gun in his hand and he yelled for Webb to stop. Raymond says Webb did not stop and kept walking towards him. He says that at that point, he fires a warning shot into the woods. He says after that warning shot, Webb still continued to walk towards Raymond.
“Raymond says he kept yelling at Webb to stop and lay down while he calls the police. He says when Webb continued to walk towards him, he fired a second warning shot into the ground. Raymond says at this point, Webb stopped and laid down on the ground,” and he had a witness call 911, the affidavit said.
“He continues to say that while (the witness) was on the phone with dispatch, Webb jumped up off the ground and that is when he shot Webb.
“I asked Raymond when Webb jumped up, did he act like he was going to run away or attack him. Raymond says he doesn’t know – it happened so fast,” the deputy wrote in his affidavit.