STILLWATER — A Payne County judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of a Cushing man who allegedly owes more than $31,000 in back support for his children residing in Creek County.

Vernon Scott Turner, 45, failed to appear in court Friday for his sentencing on a Payne County charge that was filed nearly two years ago when he owed $24,423 in back child support, court records show.

That amount had increased to more than $31,000, Payne County prosecutor Laura Thomas said when Turner was in court in January following his arrest two days before Christmas.

Turner spent nearly two months in the Payne County Jail before he pleaded guilty in February, court records show.

After admitting that he owed back child support, Turner was released on a personal recognizance bond pending his March 28 sentencing by Associate District Judge Robert Murphy Jr., who issued the bench warrant for his re-arrest Friday.

Turner had been ordered in 1997 in Payne County to pay $350 per month for the support of his three children, who were then 9, 4 and 3, court documents show.

Failure to pay child support is a felony punishable by a maximum four-year prison term and a $5,000 fine, court records show.