The Pryor Times

Crimes and courts

March 13, 2014

Man says motive for murder was sex

PRYOR, OK — Jeremy Sappington, 37, Chouteau, admitted to murdering his aunt over sex, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case.

Law enforcement arrived on the scene of 1418 East Jones St., Chouteau, around 1:44 a.m. Monday at the report of an unresponsive female.

A family friend found Verna Sarten, 50, after being asked to check on her and not being able to get in touch with her. The friend used his key to gain entry into the home. He found Sarten “partially clothed from the waist up and lying face down at the end of the couch on the floor.”

The individual then checked for a pulse and called 911.

“Sarten appeared to have had trauma to her face and chin along with blood on the right side of her head behind her ear and there was blood on the carpet, “ according to law enforcement statement in the probable cause. “Sarten’s pajama bottoms and underwear were next to the recliner on the floor.”

The affidavit describes a stack of papers that were burned by a space heater, the ashes on the floor surrounded by melted carpet.

“The oven door was open with the heat in the on position and the central heat and air was on, producing warm air,” according to the affidavit.

Sappington, who was arrested driving Sarten’s vehicle with a gun in his possession, was taken into custody at Mayes County Jail.

Sarten was allegedly allowing Sappington, her nephew, to live with her following his divorce.

“During the interview, Sappington admitted to having sex with Sarten for a place to live. Sappington said he was tired of it and wanted to end it,” according to the affidavit.

Sappington told officers he retrieved a .22 revolver from under Sarten’s mattress,  walked up behind her and fired one shot to the back of her head.

Sappington appeared in court on felony charges of first degree murder Wednesday.

The assistant district attorney, Marny Hill, described Sappington as having caused mortal wounds to Sarten. Hill read Sappington’s prior criminal record that included four counts of attempted larceny of an automobile for which he had been sentenced to seven years in the Department of Corrections.

“We are currently looking into other charges, including armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of methamphetamine and domestic assault. The state has filed a motion to remove him from community sentencing, which he spent two days in before committing this murder,” said Hill.

Sappington was authorized to enter into community sentencing despite having violent crimes on his record.

Hill said Sappington arrived at his ex-wife's house, banging on the doors and windows in the middle of the night after the murder was committed.

“We wonder what his intentions were being there? We feel he is a threat to the community, so we request he continue being held without bond.” said Hill.

Sappington was told charges of first degree murder can carry a life sentence, life without parole or the death penalty.

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