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All last week the Pushmataha County Courthouse played host to the second of four trials of individuals charged with the murder of Robert Strickland of Hugo. This crime took place in April of 2010 and crime scenes were located in Choctaw, McCurtain and Pushmataha Counties. Twelve O.S.B.I. Agents and over 30 law enforcement officers, belonging to multiple agencies in the three counties, were involved in these investigation.
The body of Robert Strickland, was found in Pushmataha County after Strickland had been reported missing on April 5, 2010.Â Two men, Clifton Parrish, 26 of Fort Towson, and Aaron Jacobs, 25 of Spencerville, were arrested and charged with First Degree Murder on April 9, 2010. Another was also arrested and charged with First Degree Murder, Natasha Cathey, a 26 year-old white female also known as Natasha Harper, on August 2, 2010.Â
According to statements made, Strickland had been lured out onto a county road after receiving a message sent by a friend, Karrie McKeever, who said she was having car problems by Messer, OK.Â McKeever was with Cathey, Jacobs and Parrish. This is where Strickland is believed to have been robbed and an altercation took place where Strickland has hit several times in the face and head knocking him unconscious.
In statements to the police, Jacobs admitted to cleaning up the first crime scene and loading Strickland into Stricklandâ€™s own Expedition and then driving away. According to Jacobsâ€™ statement, Strickland died in the Expedition while he was driving the vehicle from his residents towards Antlers on State Highway 3.
On Trial last week (March 12th through March 16th) was Clifton Parish, who was being defended by Attorney Gary Henry. The prosecutors were District Attorney Mark Mattloft and his Assistant DA, Johnny Loard. The Judge who tried this case was Judge Jana Wallace.
The jury was comprised of 5 men and 7 women, who it took approximately four hours to deliver a verdict once the trial was complete. Eighteen witnesses, including law enforcement, medical examiners and forensic experts, along with others, took the stand in an attempt to help the jury make an informed decision.
â€śI am very pleased with the verdict,â€ť said Mark Mattloft, District Attorney. â€śFactually, this was a more difficult case then Jacobs.â€ť
Parish was found guilty of Second Degree Murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
â€śThe citizens are sending a clear message to the criminals of Pushmataha County,â€ť said Mattloft.