By Anita Reding
Phoenix Staff Writer
SALLISAW — A judge said Thursday that he was “not going to condone any risks” by allowing a man convicted of killing two people to be freed, even if it’s for one day a week.
Sequoyah County District Judge Jeff Payton ruled that Daniel Hawke Fears, 29, remain at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita.
A jury convicted Fears in 2004 of two counts of first-degree murder, five counts of drive-by shooting and eight counts of shooting with intent to kill after going on a shooting spree in 2002. The Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals later overturned those convictions, finding that Fears was not guilty by reason of insanity.
The state Forensic Review Board recommended Fears be released from a psychiatric facility in Vinita and receive outpatient treatment at Grand Lake Mental Health Center one day a week.
During the hearing Thursday, Sequoyah County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Milburn presented evidence regarding Fear’s current mental condition and the lack of security at Grand Lake. In her closing comments, Milburn also told the judge that there was not enough evidence that the treatment was necessary.
Dr. Aman Saleh said he was a member of the treatment team that recommended to the review board that Fears receive treatment at Grand Lake Mental Health Center. He explained that treatment at Grand Lake would be the next step in Fears’ treatment.
Saleh has been involved in Fears’ treatment since 2011. Fears has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoid personality disorder, he said. Saleh was asked Thursday if Fears posed a risk to the community.
“The risk is very low,” based on the improvements he has made. “I would say the risk is very low, but there is always a risk, as with any situation.”
Jimmy Nunn of Muskogee was a Sallisaw automobile salesman in 2002 and was shot twice during the shooting spree.
“I think the judge made the right decision,” he said.
Nunn said he has attended every court proceeding regarding Fears.
“I don’t think they should ever let him out,” Nunn said before the hearing.
Stan Spangler’s mother, Reba Spangler, who was also at the Sallisaw car dealership in 2002, was shot and killed. Stan Spangler said before the hearing that he was concerned that Fears would be allowed to leave the facility and receive therapy at the other location.
“In my opinion, he should still be in prison,” Spangler said.
Fears did not attend the hearing, and his attorney Rob Nigh told the judge that his client had waived his appearance.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.