, Muskogee, OK

Local News

December 31, 2012

Top 10 area stories of 2012


— 8. Former city resident admits sodomy of teen

Roger Wayne Bingham, 40, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of forcible sodomy of a teenage boy.

Associate District Judge Norman Thygesen heard Bingham’s guilty plea Jan. 25 and sentenced him to 27 concurrent 20-year terms. At least 85 percent of a sentence for a forcible sodomy conviction must be served before an inmate is eligible for parole. It will be 2029 before Bingham is eligible for parole.

After the sentencing, Bingham was returned to Pennsylvania, where he’s serving time for a similar crime. Thygesen said Bingham will return to Oklahoma to serve his sentence here after he completes his Pennsylvania sentence.

7. Checotah soldier dies in Afghanistan

Spc. James E. Dutton, 25, was killed March 31 in Logar province in Afghanistan.

Dutton, a Checotah native and 2006 graduate of Weleetka High School, was married to Ellen Marie Dutton. A Department of Defense media release stated Dutton was known as “the only service member in Southern Afghanistan that can fix fire trucks.”

Dutton’s body was returned to Muskogee County April 20, and its route from Davis Field Airport to Dutton’s final resting place at Fort Gibson National Cemetery was a celebrated one. Dozens of Patriot Guard motorcycle riders embraced Dutton’s family as his casket was lowered from a plane. Hundreds of flag-waving residents showed support by lining Muskogee streets as the body was escorted to a Muskogee funeral home.

Dutton was buried April 23.

6. Checotah teacher guilty of rape

A former Checotah Public Schools teacher charged in 2011 with the rape of high school students pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to nine counts of having sex with teenagers.

Michelle Diane McCutchan, 40, was found guilty of :

• Two counts of second-degree rape.

• Two counts of sodomy.

• One count of child neglect.

• Four counts of furnishing alcohol to a person under 21.

She was sentenced Sept. 5 to 15 years in prison,  and, as the felonies fall under the 85 percent statute, she will spend almost 13 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Authorities alleged McCutchan, a former fifth-grade teacher in the Checotah school system, engaged in a sexual relationship with three boys, two of whom were students at Checotah High School. Some of the acts involved a teenage girl, prosecutors said. Some of the acts were filmed and photographed.

McCutchan testified to withstanding years of sexual abuse as a teenager.

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