Notes from the Crime Desk, June 6-10

Ryan Jacob Howard

An Amarillo man arrested for grand larceny has been ordered to a mental health facility to ascertain his competence level. 

Ryan Jacob Howard, 37, has been charged in Payne County with two felony counts of grand larceny and second-degree burglary after attempting to steal equipment from Oklahoma State University’s Physical Sciences Building, officials said. According to reports, an OSU police officer noticed Howard in possession of the stolen property at 3:14 p.m. on May 19. 

OSU employees had followed Howard after watching him load a Bio-Rad NGC Chromatography System valued at approximately $80,000 onto a dolly and remove it from the premises, according to cout records. The employees followed him out to his car and contacted OSUPD when Howard was unable to provide verification for taking the equipment, according to the affidavit. 

During the investigation, an OSU student reported a broken lock on the door of 443 Physical Sciences. Based on photographs taken by and statements provided by OSU employees, authorities believe the equipment had been taken from 443 Physical Sciences, according to the affidavit. 

After Howard was transported to Payne County Jail, a search warrant was obtained for his car. In his car, officers reported finding numerous laboratory instruments, lab equipment and an assortment of chemicals. The officers also found bolt cutters, which had tool marks that matched the broken lock at 443 Physical Sciences, according to the affidavit. 

Howard was booked in the Payne County Jail and his bond was set at $5,000. 

On May 26, Howard appeared in court and filed an application of indigent defense. Judge Katherine Thomas granted Howard a court-appointed attorney. Howard pleaded not guilty to the felony counts, according to the affidavit. The matter was moved to the preliminary docket. 

On June 6, Howard’s attorney, Royce Hobbs, filed an order for commitment of examination. Thomas granted this order and sentenced Howard to 30 days at the Edwin Fair Community Mental Health Center to undergo examination on his competency to stand trial, according to the affidavit. 

Howard is scheduled to appear in Payne County Court again on July 11 at 9 a.m. 

Grand larceny is punishable with up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines along with a payment of restitution of the stolen property. Second degree burglary carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. 

Chambers intends to plead insanity

The attorney for a Stillwater woman accused of driving into a crowd at the 2015 Sea of Orange homecoming parade in October claims she was mentally ill at the time of the offense, according to court documents. 

On June 3, Chambers’ attorney, Tony Coleman, submitted an order to prove Chambers was indigent and her family couldn’t afford to pay for a mental health expert. Judge Stephen Kistler granted the order and found that Chambers needed a mental evaluation, according to the affidavit. 

Kistler approved Chambers’ use of detaining Shawn Roberson, PhD., a mental health expert who will be paid $200 per hour for an estimated 45 hours from the Payne County court fund.

Also on June 6, Coleman submitted a notice of intent to raise the question of mental illness or insanity at the time of Chambers’ offense, according to the affidavit.