, Muskogee, OK

December 4, 2012

2 arrested in beating, robbery of man

Incident occurred at elderly man’s city residence

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Two men have been arrested on complaints of beating and robbing an elderly Muskogee man, and a third is held as a material witness.

Robin Hill, 20, and Markell Grass, 19, were booked into the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility on Tuesday evening on complaints of first-degree robbery, said Lt. Bobby Lee.

Rodney Bias, 26, is held as a material witness, Lee said.

Jim Baskins, 77, was robbed and beaten by two men at his home on Jefferson Street, according to police reports.

About 7:30 p.m. Monday, officers were called to a convenience store at East Side Boulevard and Gibson Street by a clerk at the store. The clerk said a man came in the store with injuries to his face, seeking help, according to the 911 call log.

“Due to the severity of his injuries, he was immediately taken to the hospital,” Lee said.

Baskins’ daughter-in-law, Barbara Baskins, said Tuesday she was called about the robbery and went to Eastar Health Center to see Baskins before he was transferred to another hospital in Tulsa.

“I know he’ll have to have surgery on his face,” Barbara Baskins said. “The bones are all just broke to pieces, but until the swelling goes down there’s not much they can do about anything.”

Grass was arrested after a brief standoff at a house in the 1100 block of Ash Street about 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Muskogee Special Operations Team responded, and Grass came out of the house peaceably, Lee said. Bias and Hill were detained without incident.

Lead Investigator Rob Frazier questioned all three men, then made the arrests Tuesday evening.

Over the past several weeks, there have been several incidents of robbery and/or assaults in the neighborhood around the 600 block of Jefferson Street.

Of those, an elderly man shot an intruder less than a block from Baskins’ home in early November.

There was also an attempted robbery on North F and Callahan streets on Sunday, a knife assault in the 600 block of Kankakee Street on Nov. 29 and a robbery by force at G and Dayton streets on Nov. 29, according to police reports.

“We’ve had several incidents in that area that are similar to this one, but it is unknown if they are related or involve the same suspects,” Lee said.

In the case of the man shooting the intruder in the 600 block of Kankakee, a suspect is already charged in the case.

And in some of the other incidents, the suspect descriptions are different, but investigators will be looking closely to see if any are connected to the attack on Baskins, Lee said.

Robbery in the first degree is committed when a person causes serious bodily harm to another during the commission of a robbery, according to Oklahoma statutes.

A conviction of first-degree robbery carries no less than 10 years in the penitentiary, the statutes state.

Reach Wendy Burton (918) 684-2926 or wburton