Richard Don “Ricky” Rainwater, 44, of Fort Smith was formally charged Friday in Cherokee County District Court, Tahlequah, with first-degree murder with deliberate intent, robbery by force or fear and larceny of an automobile.
Rainwater is to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday. The murder charge is punishable by the death penalty, life in prison or life in prison without parole.
Rainwater, according to reports, has confessed to choking to death Larry Lane Sr., father of Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane Jr., on Aug. 31 at Lane’s home in Park Hill in Cherokee County.
In a prepared statement Jack Thorp, district attorney for Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair and Wagoner Counties, said, “According to the investigation, Rainwater allegedly admitted to ‘strangling the life out of an innocent man.’ He admitted to stealing Mr. Lane’s belongings and fleeing out of state. Though it will never bring Larry Lane back, we intend to pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law, to hopefully give his family some small measure of peace.”
Rainwater was arrested by Memphis police after Cherokee County, Sequoyah County and OSBI investigators tracked receipts from Lane’s stolen credit card across two states. Lane’s stolen pickup truck was discovered in West Memphis, Ark., and officers found Rainwater in a mental health facility where he had admitted himself, Thorp said.
Thorp added, “Cherokee and Sequoyah County deputies and agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation have worked around the clock, scouring three states. Their tireless work paid off and Rainwater is back in Oklahoma.”
Thorp concluded by extending condolences to Sheriff Lane and his family.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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