Former sheriff receives deferred sentences

Charles Pearson

A former Muskogee County sheriff charged with a felony and three misdemeanors entered guilty pleas in Muskogee County District Court on Tuesday.

Two misdemeanor counts against Charles Pearson, 53, were dismissed — feloniously pointing a firearm and reckless conduct with a firearm — at the request of the victim, his brother, John Pearson, a Muskogee police lieutenant at the time, said Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge.

Charles Pearson, who served four terms as sheriff, pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm while under the influence and driving under the influence, both misdemeanors.

He received a six-month deferred sentence for carrying a firearm while under the influence and was fined $100. He received a one-year deferred sentence for the DUI charge and was fined $100. 

"He completed a 30-day inpatient. He's now in outpatient treatment. So, he has to complete that," Loge said. "And he has to report to my office for a year once a month and to bring proof of everything."

As long as Pearson remains out of trouble, after six months, the firearm charge will be erased from his record. After a year, the DUI charge also will be erased.

Pearson was charged following a situation in June in which he discharged a pistol while aiming toward his brother. He missed his brother, but shot his brother's car.

Pearson left the residence before deputies arrived, so they began searching for him and his truck. They spotted him in the 2700 block of South Woodland Road "while operating a motor vehicle," and "a Glock handgun was recovered from the vehicle he was driving."

Pearson, according to a witness affidavit, was arrested during a traffic stop in the 2700 block of South Woodland Road. Pearson was described as being "unsteady on his feet" with "bloodshot" and "watery eyes" and "the presence of a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage upon his person."

Following his arrest, Pearson, who had filed to run for sheriff again, withdrew from the race.

He has been sober for months, he said. 

"I spent over half my life trying to set an example," Pearson said. "I didn't realize alcohol was such a dangerous thing."

He said he now realizes just how dangerous it is.

"I'm thankful my friends saved my life — my brother, Orvil (Loge) and (Lawyer) Janet (Bickel-Hutson)," he said.

Pearson said he has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

"I'm very high on AA," he said. "I went to a Christian-based rehab program that turned my life around. Thank God I found my way out."

Pearson said he would like to help others struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction.

"A lot of people helped me," he said. "If they're having a problem and they want to talk, I'll be there. If they have my cell number, they can call me, or they can send me a message on Facebook Messenger."

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