By:  Patti Weaver

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A felony charge of malicious injury to property of Crown Energy Company has been dismissed against an 82-year-old cattleman, who was scheduled to have a jury trial in July for using a reciprocating saw to cut a 12-inch above ground water line across the entrance to his land, one-fourth of a mile south of Deep Rock and Kings Highway in rural Cushing.

The case against Louis Perry Watkins was dropped by District Judge Phillip Corley on the request of the prosecution less than two weeks after defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey filed a motion to dismiss — maintaining, “There has not been any proof that Mr. Watkins is guilty of doing anything maliciously.”

“A pipe was laid across the entrance to property that was owned by Mr. Watkins. without any notice to him. Mr. Watkins must go onto the property on a regular basis in order to properly care for his cattle,” the defense attorney noted.

In a preliminary hearing, Thomas Walters “testified that he owns Tytan Poly Services that supplies fresh water for drilling. His company was contracted to pull water out of the river and pump to a location for Crown Energy. Mr. Walters was asked if he gave notice to the people who live there and his answer was no, that he did not believe that this was an active driveway.

“Mr. Walters further stated he does not have to give notice to property owners and he never gave any notice to Mr. Watkins,” or left information regarding whom to contact if there were a problem, the motion to dismiss noted.

“There is not any question that Mr. Watkins was attempting to get into his property or that he could have entered onto the property without cutting the lines. Mr. Watkins did have cattle on the property that needed care. If notice had been given to Mr. Watkins, perhaps some provision could have been made so that he could have gone onto his property in order to use that property for what he owned it for — raising cattle,” the motion added.

Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Harper had been sent on a vandalism call at 3102 N. Kings Highway on Nov. 28, 2016. A representative of Tytan Poly Services said he was contacted by an employee of Payne County District 1 “with photos and a video of Louis Watkins cutting a 12-inch lay flat line and a 4-inch poly line with a battery-powered reciprocating saw,” on Nov. 22, 2016, an affidavit alleged.

Crown Energy Company had been seeking $14,701 restitution from Watkins, court records show.