MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 17, 2013

Auto death convict faces new charges

Suspect arrested for drug, alcohol offenses while awaiting sentence

— A Braggs man awaiting sentencing after pleading blind to manslaughter last month was ordered held without bond Tuesday on new drug and alcohol charges.

Billy Edward Haworth was arrested Saturday morning in Fort Gibson in a convenience store parking lot in the 300 block of East Poplar Street. Haworth, 35, was charged Tuesday with:

• Possession of controlled dangerous substance.

• Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Transporting an open container of beer.

Haworth allegedly had methamphetamine, a pipe “used by abusers of drugs,” and an open container of beer in his Chevrolet Blazer when he was arrested, Fort Gibson Police Chief Clint Vernon said.

Haworth was arraigned on the new charges Tuesday via closed-circuit television in Special District Judge Robin Adair’s courtroom. Haworth asked Adair why he had been ordered held without bond. Adair told him it was because he had entered a plea to another felony.

“I thought that was only for like, people who are a flight risk,” Haworth said. “I am a flight risk?”

“Well, yeah,” Adair replied.

Haworth was ordered to return to court April 30 for a sounding docket.

Haworth is awaiting sentencing after entering a blind plea to a manslaughter charge March 15. His sentencing date is set for June 5.

That case was filed Jan. 3, 2011. Haworth, according to court documents, passed three vehicles in a no-passing zone on a stretch of Oklahoma 10 on Dec. 15, 2010. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report stated Haworth’s pickup struck one vehicle, and collided with another driven by Hank Glass.

Glass, 40, was pinned for 30 minutes before being freed and transported to Muskogee Regional Medical Center, where he died.

Haworth’s attorney, Donn Baker, of Tahlequah, first requested the felony manslaughter charge be reduced to negligent homicide, a misdemeanor. That motion was denied. Baker then took the case before Adair County District Judge J. Jeffrey Payton, who dismissed the case.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that decision last August. While Baker maintained the facts would only support a negligent homicide charge, Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore argued that, by passing in a no-passing zone, Haworth had made a conscious decision to break the law — earning a manslaughter charge.

In March, Payton, Baker, Haworth and Moore appeared in court again. Baker planned to have Haworth enter a blind plea to the manslaughter charge, but Moore requested Payton recuse himself from the case. Glass’ family members said they weren’t comfortable having the same judge who originally dismissed the charge hear the blind plea.

The recusal request angered Payton, who said it was entered inappropriately by Moore. Moore said later that he’d made a mistake, and Payton heard the plea a week later.

First-degree manslaughter is punishable by four years to life in prison.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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