The Pryor Times

March 11, 2014

Chouteau man confesses to murder

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Jeremy Sappington, Chouteau, has confessed to the murder of his aunt, Verna Sarten, 50.

Within an hour of interrogation by Mayes County Sheriff's Office, he confessed. Sappington was expected to be charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday.

“We received a 911 call around 12:45 a.m.,” said Mayes County Sheriff Mike Reed, adding that a close friend of the family made the call after finding the body in her home, located at 1418 E. Jones St., Chouteau.

Chouteau Fire Department were first on the scene, followed by a deputy shortly after.

“The deputy arrived and felt the scene was suspicious. He called in an investigator, who also suspected there may have been foul play,” said Reed.

The investigator noted signs of blunt force trauma on the victim, Reed said.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to participate in the investigation.

“Shortly after, family members of the victim showed up and started asking where Sarten's vehicle was. They also asked where an individual was, who has been living with her,” said Reed.

The individual living with her, according to other sources, was Sappington, 37.

“The vehicle, a black truck, was recovered as well. And the individual was brought in for questioning and is being treated as a strong person of interest.” said Reed.

The body has been transported to the medical examiner where the official cause of death will be determined.

Monday, Sappington was charged with possession of a firearm after former felony conviction and public intoxication. He appeared in court Monday afternoon before Judge Rebecca Gore.

Information filed in that case place him in the victim’s truck with a handgun around 1:30 a.m. Monday.

He appeared via video from the Mayes County Jail. Gore told him that possession of a firearm after former felony conviction can carry up to a life sentence. Sappington was wearing a white jail-issued T-shirt and stood with his hands clasped in front of him, looking straight ahead at the camera.

He remained unflinching when Gore said she reviewed the information and found probable cause to detain him on a count of first-degree murder.

The severity of the potential charges, combined with his current felony count and prior criminal record prompted the state to request he be held without bond.

His prior criminal record includes possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of paraphernalia, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of an automobile, assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and battery, and four counts of attempted larceny of an auto.