By: Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater man on probation for shoplifting at two Stillwater businesses has been accused of leaving his 2-year-old son alone in their unlocked apartment — seven months after he reportedly completed an addiction treatment program, court records show.
John Henry Land III, 28, remained jailed on $7,000 total bail pending a court appearance this afternoon on all of his charges, court records show.
Land was arrested at his apartment at 6:28 p.m. on Oct. 18, according to an affidavit by Stillwater Police Officer Jimmy Knox.
About 30 minutes earlier, “Sgt. Gripe and I contacted Land across the parking lot of their apartment near the dumpsters. I asked him if he left his 2-year-old home alone. He stated no. He was visibly shaking and very nervous,” the Stillwater officer wrote in his affidavit.
“I asked him where he went; he stated that he went to Cavender’s Western Wear to see about a job. He said he was gone maybe 15 minutes. He said he left his son with a male named Pablo, who lived in the complex.
“He said he (the baby) was asleep in his crib. He said he was only gone for 15 minutes and when he returned, Pablo was gone and his son was alone in the apartment. Land did not seem too concerned with leaving his son with someone to return to find his son was alone.
“Land told Sgt. Gripe that he left his apartment about 5 p.m. and went to Cavender’s, the store, and Buffalo Wild Wings. He guessed that he was gone for 15 minutes. I told him that he could not possibly go to all the places he mentioned and return home in 15 minutes.
“He was still shaking and could not recall his timeline and where he had been without taking several seconds before answering. I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath and person. I asked him if he had been drinking and he replied he had a drink this morning,” the Stillwater officer alleged in his affidavit.
“I told Land to stop lying to us and I explained to him I believed he left his son home alone. I told him (the baby) was asleep and he thought he could just run over to Cavender’s Western Wear and wherever else you went and return before (the baby) woke up. Land looked down at the ground and then reached his hand out as if he wanted to shake my hand and said you are right,” the Stillwater officer alleged in his affidavit.
Land’s girlfriend told Officer Miguel Najera that she was at work all day and around 2:37 p.m. she began calling Land to check on their baby, the affidavit alleged. “She could not get a hold of Land for almost an hour after she got off work, which was weird because he was watching their son. When she got back to the apartment, (she) said the door was unlocked and she found (the baby) in her room by himself,” the affidavit alleged.
Land’s girlfriend said “she called the police thinking Land may have got arrested for a warrant, but while she was on the phone, Land showed up and they began arguing. (She) stated she was home for around 10 minutes before Land showed back up, but believes he left (the baby) for at least an hour since Land would not answer her calls during that time,” the affidavit alleged.
After a dispatcher advised the officer that Land’s girlfriend had an active victim protective order against him from Roseau, Minnesota, Land was arrested for violating the VPO and child neglect, the affidavit said.
According to Payne County court records, nine months ago Land pleaded guilty to shoplifting a $59 Swiss Army backpack from the Stillwater Walmart on Perkins Road on Jan. 4, 2017, and a $400 iPad from a desk inside the Oklahoma State University Student Store on Feb. 3, 2017. Land was placed on probation for one year in both cases with an order to perform 60 hours of community service, make $459 restitution and pay $400 in fines in addition to court costs and the cost of his incarceration, court records show.
A month after he admitted those two shoplifting incidents, Land entered a residential treatment program in South Dakota, which he completed on March 13, court records show. His counselor recommended that Land attend a continuing care program and a minimum of two 12-step meetings per week for support and guidance in recovery, court records show.