Ericka Denea Mitchell, 44, of Cushing, was charged with embezzlement on Tuesday. According to a written affidavit, Cushing Police Department officers responded to a report of embezzlement at a Cushing church in December 2017. A reverend at the church said a church employee was using church funds for personal use.

The officer writes that on March 21, 2018, officers received information detailing alleged fraudulent transactions made by Mitchell beginning on Nov. 28, 2012 through March 31, 2017. The information provided suggested that $15,732.59 was spent on church credit cards for Mitchell’s personal use.

On May 30, 2018, police spoke with Mitchell, who said she did use church funds for personal use, saying it “was very awful of me and I want to take it back,” the affidavit reads. Mitchell also told officers that she would help determine if each item was for church or personal use. She admitted to making purchases totaling $6,455.18

A warrant of arrest was issued on Wednesday, and no arrests have been made in the case. Embezzlement is punishable by up to five years in prison a fine of up to $5,000.

Stillwater woman charged with exploitation by caretaker

Deanna Gay Lawson, 56, of Stillwater, was charged on Aug. 15 with one count of exploitation by caretaker and one count of knowingly concealing stolen property.

According to a written affidavit, police responded to a Stillwater location for a larceny call, and met a woman who said her mother had become terminally ill and that different members of the family took turns staying with her until her death on Aug. 6. The woman told the officer that when family went to gather the mother’s valuables, they noticed her wedding ring was gone from the jewelry box. The ring was known to have been in the box on Aug. 2, and Lawson was suspected of taking the ring because she was the only person who had stayed with the woman who was not related to her. Lawson had stayed with the family members at the woman’s home on Aug. 2 but was staying at the home by herself with the woman on Aug. 5.

The officer writes that after learning what the ring looked like, an app on the officer’s computer was used to see if Lawson had recently pawned the ring. The officer discovered that Lawson had pawned the ring on Aug. 5 at EZ Pawn. The officer then went to EZ Pawn to look at the ring, and was identical to the ring shown to the officer in photos. Lawson had signed the pawn declaration saying she had owned the ring for 14 months, and the officer put a hold on the ring for 30 days and took photos of it.

The affidavit reads that the officer then spoke with Lawson at her home, and showed her the pawn ticket. She admitted to taking the ring because she needed money, and had been paid $550 when she pawned the ring.

A warrant was issued on Monday for Lawson’s arrest and the was served the same day. Court records indicate Lawson did not appear at a hearing on Wednesday and a bench warrant was issued for her failing to appear. This crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cushing man charged with unlawful cultivation of marijuana

According to court records, Cecil Lin Kinsley, 58, of Cushing, was charged on Tuesday with unlawful cultivation of marijuana. A written affidavit states that officer met with a person at Cushing Police Department reporting a keep the peace situation on July 10. The officer followed the reporting person back to a residence because the reporting person was taking her sister back to her home and she might have issues with a family member, Kinsley and his wife. After arriving at the residence, Kinsley was not at the home but officers were told they may be called again if they are needed.

The officer writes that he was dispatched back to the residence due to Kinsley’s wife possibly sicking a dog on the reporting party. When the officer arrived back at the residence, there were several people at the residence, including Kinsley. The officer spoke with the person who called the police, and the woman said a dog had been sent at her. The officer also learned that Kinsley and his wife were growing marijuana at the residence. The officer writes that he noticed marijuana leaves in a flower pot on the front porch.

Kinsley was asked about the plants, and he said they belonged to a neighbor and that the neighbor had a medical marijuana card. Kinsley’s wife said she didn’t know the plants were there and Kinsley said he was the only one who knew about the plants. The officer then seized three plants between 7-10 inches tall and later testing determined it was marijuana.

A warrant was issued Wednesday for Kinsley’s arrest, and no arrests have been made in the case as of press time. 

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