Monday, July 10, 2017

Murder Charges Dropped in Fagan Case

Matthew Scott Fagan

The cases against three men who are suspects in the disappearance of Matthew Scott Fagan of Webbers Falls have been dropped without prejudice.

Fagan was last seen at about 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2016, at the Buzzard Roost Hiking Trail at Lake Tenkiller.

Michael Anthony Snelling, 22, and Charles Blake Shamblin, 25, of Webbers Falls, were both charged with first degree murder in Sequoyah County District Court and Tyler Paul Leverett, 22, also of Webbers Falls, faced a second-degree murder charge.

The charges were dropped Monday in district court at the request of the district attorney’s office. The charges were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning they can be refiled at any time.

First Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp explained, “Additional investigation needs to be done. I am going to meet with the all investigators in the case and ask for additional evidence.

“We still believe that Mr. Fagan is a homicide victim,” Thorp said. “We need additional corroborating evidence before a jury trial.”

One of those investigators, Sheriff Larry Lane, is on administrative leave after a shooting last week in Sallisaw. As is customary, any law enforcement officer is placed on paid administrative leave until it is determined if a shooting was justified. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is doing the investigation and will turn their findings over to the district attorney’s office. Lane shot and killed a suspect in McDonald’s restaurant in Sallisaw after the suspect fired at he and Deputy Charles House.

Thorp said so many agencies were involved in the investigation into Fagan’s disappearance, that the sheriff’s leave should not be a problem.

“Multiple agencies are involved,” Thorp said. He added that the search for Fagan’s body is continuing. The suspects, at the time of Fagan’s disappearance, said they didn’t know anything about his disappearance. Later the suspects pointed to one another as Fagan’s killer. They said Fagan’s weighted body was dropped in Lake Tenkiller.

Many extensive searches have failed to find Fagan’s body.

Thorp said the search for Fagan has expanded to other areas, still unsuccessfully.

He said, “We still believe Mr. Fagan is a homicide victim, but we need corroborating evidence, not just statements.”

Two Gore residents were arrested and charged earlier this year as accessories after the fact. Matthew Terrell, 22, told investigators the three murder suspects came to him to help dispose of Fagan’s body. His wife, Sha Lynn, said she knew nothing about Fagan’s disappearance.

Thorp said, “We need more than statements. We need corroborating evidence to open this case up. We didn’t want double jeopardy.

“I am going to do everything we can to locate Mr. Fagan.”

Thorp said the three suspects will be released from the county jail, but Terrell will remain.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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