By: Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — Although murder charges against a Stillwater man and woman in a Cushing man’s slaying have been dismissed due to witness credibility issues, the case still can be re-filed “if and when independent evidence is developed which would allow us to proceed,” according to District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas.
“The investigation continues and our belief is that it will be fruitful. The two defendants have not been released, as we have them on other charges that are unrelated,” the DA added in an email last week.
Troy Wayne “TJ” Shadowen Jr., 23, and Bridgett Nicole Barton, 29, had been charged together with first-degree murder in the Feb. 17 killing of Patrick McGuire, 40, who was shot twice in the leg and torso, as well as beaten in the face and head during the course of a robbery, before his travel trailer was set on fire in Cushing, court records show.
Shadowen, a repeat drug offender, saw his probation revoked after he was terminated from Payne County Drug Court on March 17 and ordered to serve about three years in prison on 2015 and 2016 methamphetamine convictions, for which he was originally given suspended sentences, court records show.
Barton, a repeat drug offender, who allegedly failed to report to Drug Court in January to begin the intake process, remains in the Payne County Jail on 2016 and 2018 methamphetamine charges pending an Aug. 4 court hearing.
Regarding the dismissal of the murder charges against the pair, the DA said “the state has spoken with the key witness in the investigation,” who “has now given no less than three inconsistent statements.
“We cannot put a witness on the stand that we know is not telling the truth or one in which we can’t determine which statement is the truth if any of them are.
“At this time, the state does not possess any firm evidence which will corroborate any of the statements made by this witness to reach the required burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt. Corroboration is required when dealing with statements of potential co-defendants,” the DA said.
By dismissing the case prior to a preliminary hearing, the prosecution preserved its ability to re-file a murder charge “if and when independent evidence is developed,” the DA emphasized.
“Further, other potential witnesses that have some degree of evidentiary value are reluctant to stay the course, and others are highly impeachable due to issues with their credibility.
“The OSBI is still actively investigating potential evidence,” the DA emphasized.