Couple arrested on drug, stolen property charges

Emergency vehicle lights flashing, police car inspecting city, security service


By Ronda Cowen
News-Star Reporter

On May 22nd, around 12:15 p.m. Stratford Police Chief Adam McMillen received a call about a suspicious person and vehicle located at 110 North Forest. McMillen responded to the call and upon arriving, recognized the vehicle as one he had seen earlier in the day while assisting McClain County in a hit and run.

The vehicle that McMillen approached was a black 1985 Chevrolet pickup with front bumper damage bearing an Oklahoma tag. The driver of the vehicle, Brian Horton, had been ticketed earlier in the day for leaving the scene of an accident in McClain County. McMillen had waited with the suspects and the vehicle until the proper authorities could arrive on the scene.

The reporting witness had advised that the subject was at the Sonic in Stratford. McMillen made contact with Audra Harris who had been the passenger in the vehicle ticketed in McClain County earlier in the day.

While McMillen was speaking to Harris, Assistant Chief Aaron Graves and K-9 Maverick approached the vehicle. Maverick alerted on the vehicle, indicating that drugs were present in the vehicle.

Upon searching the vehicle, officers found a stolen pistol, two sets of digital scales, numerous drug paraphernalia items, and several containers that contained crystal-like substances and green leafy substances.

During the time Graves and McMillen were searching the vehicle, Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes notified them that that there was a male subject in Pauls Valley, identified as Horton, in a vehicle that was possibly stolen. Harris had been stating to the officers that her boyfriend was in the truck. It was determined at a later time that she was high on heroin.

Sheriff Rhodes advised the vehicle was a white Dodge Dually truck, with markings on the windshield that indicated it came from a dealership. McMillen made contact with Scott Jeter, the owner of Jeter’s Tire Shop, located at 403 North Forrest in Stratford. Jeter advised that, upon checking his lot, there was a white Dodge Dually truck missing from his shop. Jeter had security footage for the incident and showed it to McMillen. In the video, Harris could be seen sitting in the passenger seat of the black Chevrolet pickup that was being driven by Horton. Horton subsequently could be seen looking into the Dodge truck, opening the door, then starting, and driving off with the vehicle. Harris could be seen driving away from Jeter’s Tire Shop in the black Chevrolet pickup after Horton signaled her. Jeter stated that Brian did not have permission to take the vehicle, as did the owner of the vehicle, Darrell Carlos, owner of Highway 3W Auto Sales.

During the course of a coordinated investigation by the Stratford Police Department, Garvin County Sheriff’s Office, Pauls Valley Police Department, and McClain County Sheriff’s Office, $1820 in drug proceeds was confiscated from Horton and the stolen vehicle was returned to its rightful owner.

But the story didn’t end there.

Horton was bailed out of the Garvin County jail by his sister, Summer Swindell at approximately 10:30 p.m. According to Swindell’s written statement, Horton became angry with her in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Department and put his hands around her neck to try to choke her. When they got in the car to leave, he tried to choke her again. She got out of the car and was visibly upset, telling him, “You’re not going to put hands on me.”

Garvin County Deputy Bill Thompson detained Horton to investigate what was occurring but Swindell stated that she didn’t want to press charges. Thompson had no choice but to release Horton and he left with Swindell.

According to Swindell’s statement, after they left the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department, Horton began to threaten her and was yelling at her for getting law enforcement involved. She pulled into a gas station near the Pauls Valley exit and while in the bathroom, used her cell phone to call her friend, Sandy Hash. She reported to her that she was in danger and that Horton was threatening her.

Swindell returned to the car and headed to Ardmore. During the drive, Horton took her phone.  Horton told Swindell that he was going to kill her but before he did, he was going to have her skinned. He also told her that she would never see her kids again because she was “a cop-calling bitch.”

Jaci Crain, a friend Horton’s, called Swindell’s cell phone. Horton told Crain to meet him at the Paoli exit.  After that phone call, Horton hit Swindell in the side of the head with his fist and busted her lip.

In his search, Thompson ordered a location ping on Swindell’s phone. It was first pinged as located at Highway 29 and I-35 but when Thompson and Huffman were headed to that area, a second search for the cell phone location showed it to be past Paoli headed toward Ardmore.

McClain County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the situation and reported back that they had the vehicle stopped at the Shell gas station located at 2425 Highway 74 in Purcell.

McClain County Deputy James Nail conducted an investigation and found that Swindell had been assaulted by Horton and held against her will.

Nail advised Thompson that when he approached the vehicle, Swindell was in tears and crying hysterically.  Nail detained Horton until Thompson could get to the scene.

When Thompson arrived, he observed and photographed redness, swollen, cut lip, and redness to the right side of Swindell’s cheek. Horton had kept Swindell from using her phone, and would not let her get out of the car. Swindell stated that she was in fear of Horton following through with the threats of killing her.   

Horton was arrested by Deputy Thompson for domestic violence and kidnapping and was transported back to the Garvin County Jail.