Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Front Page

January 30, 2014

Theft case draws not guilty verdict

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — After a few hours of deliberations this week a Garvin County jury decided it was not guilty for a man accused of withholding information about stolen cattle.

The case against Robert Scott Claiborne, 24, involved four head of cattle alleged to have been stolen in early February 2012 from property just south of Pauls Valley.

State officials argued it was Claiborne who brokered a deal to sell the stolen animals to a landowner in nearby Murray County.

A six-woman, six-man jury wrapped up a three-day trial earlier this week by delivering the not guilty verdict in a Garvin County District courtroom.

The verdict actually came Monday evening after earlier in the day jurors heard closing arguments from both sides of the case, which formally was for a charge of knowingly concealing stolen property.

Laura Shaeffer, an assistant district attorney in Garvin County, told jurors it was Claiborne who delivered and sold the cattle, while on two occasions telling the owner he knew nothing about the four missing cows.

“Mr. Rennie wants you to believe Mr. Claiborne didn’t know anything about the cattle,” Shaeffer said, referring to PV defense attorney Robert Rennie Jr.

“That’s not true. If he truly didn’t know anything about the stolen cattle is it reasonable to believe he was delivering cattle for nothing,” she said.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test.”

To bolster the state’s argument, Shaeffer sent five state witnesses to the stand during the testimony phase of the trial late last week.

They included area residents with some connection to the case, along with the case’s lead investigator, Special Agent Paul Cornett of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, who was the one tracking down the cattle after they were reported stolen by their owner almost exactly two years ago.

“Mr. Claiborne was the one who hauled those cattle from where they were to Murray County,” Shaeffer said.

“He never said he might have sold the stolen cattle,” she said about Claiborne twice telling the owner he had no knowledge of where the missing cattle could be found.

When it was his turn to address jurors Rennie defended his client by saying it was the bigger picture that warranted a not guilty verdict.

“I’m asking you to listen to all the evidence and not just pick out what the D.A. wants you to hear,” Rennie said.

“I can only surmise the state is claiming Mr. Claiborne was out there opening gates,” he said. “The evidence just doesn’t show that.”

The only defense witness during the trial was Claiborne himself, who continued to deny having any knowledge the cattle were stolen.

“He hauled the cattle,” Rennie argued. “He’s not participating in the sale of stolen cattle.

“With the evidence as a whole you will find the state has not proven that Mr. Claiborne was guilty.”

1
Text Only
Local News
Earth Day Recycling Anniversary

Learning how to sort out plastics for recycling was the aim of this game as a group of Pauls Valley kindergartners were among the students taking part in Tuesday’s Earth Day celebration at the local recycling center, which just finished its first year in operation.

Sports
Obituaries
  • J.W. Peters

    J.W. Peters of Elmore City, Oklahoma was born to Tom and Myrtle (Travis) Peters on October 10, 1927 in Roff, Oklahoma and passed from this life on April 21, 2014 in Plano, Texas at the age of 86 years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Truman Lee McCurley

    Truman Lee McCurley, 72, formerly of Pauls Valley, passed from this life April 17, 2014 with his family at his bed side at home. Truman made his home in Tulsa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Fred E. Cochran

    Fred E. Cochran of Pauls Valley passed away April 20, 2014 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma at the age of 74 years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Oneta K. Goss

    Oneta K. Goss of Pauls Valley passed away April 4, 2014 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma at the age of 90 years.

    April 8, 2014

Community News
State News
Speedy

"Speedy" the chihuahua was reunited with his Oklahoma City family thanks to a microchip after missing for two years.

Business
Business Marquee
Entertainment Reviews
Book Thief Poster

Art for "The Book Thief," available for rent on DVD.

  • ‘Book Thief’ an underappreciated gem

    The atrocities and crimes committed during the Nazis’ rise to power may be one of the most documented time periods for cinema, but that does not mean that all the great stories have been told.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Swimmer Michael Phelps Attempts Comeback Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs Raw: Pres. Obama Visits Japan's Imperial Palace Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo
Stocks