MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 8, 2013

Bond set at $20K after mistaken release of man

City man had been arrested in Arkansas in con game case

By Dylan Goforth and Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writers

— A Muskogee man was jailed following a court appearance Tuesday after being arrested out of state, transferred here and mistakenly released.

Michael Dewayne Wieher, 49, was charged in 2012 with felony value-false pretense/bogus check/con game for allegedly selling leased equipment to another man for $50,000.

That man, Gerald Dewayne Underwood, said he gave Wieher $25,000 in cash and financed the rest of the payment. In return, Underwood said he received an auto body shop on 11th Street, and all the equipment inside it.

“It wasn’t but two weeks later and I had banks and lease companies saying they owned everything in it,” Underwood said. “And I never could get a hold of Wieher again.

“It ruined me financially. That was all of my money.”

Wieher was arrested in late April in Benton County, Ark. Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office authorities traveled there to pick Wieher up, but Wieher was released mistakenly by jail employees because his name was spelled differently on the warrant. Benton County had Wieher’s last name spelled “Weiher” on their records.

“We’ve got to be real diligent on these warrants,” Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said. “When he was released, the jail should have called us before letting him go. They did call the court clerk, and they couldn’t find anything under that name in their records, so they let him go.”

Wieher turned himself into authorities Tuesday with his attorney, Orvil Loge.

Loge said when Wieher was arrested by the Arkansas Highway Patrol, he and his client decided to waive extradition “so he can face these charges.”

Wieher contacted him after the jail released him, Loge said.

“Because Mr. Wieher is a reputable member of any community and he didn’t need a warrant hanging over his head we brought him here to surrender today,” Loge said.

Wieher’s bond was set Tuesday at $20,000 after the state requested a $25,000 bond.

“I’ve known this man for years and years and he has no priors,” Loge said.  

Wieher is set to return to court for a sounding docket at 10 a.m. May 21 to set a date for his preliminary hearing.

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

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com