Murder charges filed against suspect in Lane death
Sequoyah County District Attorney Jack Thorp announced Friday an admission from the suspect in the suspicious death of Larry Lane Sr., leads to a first-degree murder charge.
Lane, 68, was found dead in his home in Keys by a friend of the family Saturday after the friend made several calls to Lane which went unanswered.
In a printed statement received by Your TIMES late Friday, Thorp stated he has charged Richard Don (Ricky) Rainwater with first-degree murder—malice aforethought, first-degree Robbery and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle in Cherokee County Court.
Thorp said Thursday if found guilty, first degree murder carries a penalty of life in prison or death depending on the sentence.
Thorpe said according to the investigation, Rainwater allegedly admitted to “strangling the life out of an innocent man,” Thorp said of Rainwater's jailhouse admission to investigators, the release states.
“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,” Thorp said.
Rainwater was arrested by Memphis police officers on Monday 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 him in a Memphis mental health facility where he had admitted himself, Thorp said.
“Cherokee and Sequoyah County deputies and agents with the OSBI have worked around the clock, scouring three states. Their tireless work finally paid off and Rainwater is back in Oklahoma.”
Investigators tied Rainwater to the crime scene through a vehicle he had borrowed and not returned from Vian. Sequoyah County authorities issued an arrest warrant based on the illegal use of that vehicle.
Rainwater was booked into the Shelby County, Tenn., detention center on a complaint of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.
“Our office extends our formal condolences to Sheriff Larry Lane and his family,” Thorp said.
Lane was sworn in as sheriff in January 2017 after serving as a narcotics officer with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
Cremation for Lane is under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Sallisaw. Mr. Lane attended Cookson School and graduated from Tahlequah High School in 1968. He then attended NEO College in Miami on a track scholarship. He worked as a machinist for many years in Oklahoma City and later retired as a highway construction foreman. Lane is survived by two sons, Larry Lane Jr. of Vian and Chad Lane of Glenpool; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; one brother, Roger Lane of Missouri; and one sister, Judith Freer of Midwest City. He was preceded in death by his parents, Amos Lane and Loyce Lane, who were both involved in law enforcement for many years in Sequoyah County.
Thorp could not be reached for additional information of when Rainwater will be arraigned. A follow-up story will be in Wednesday's issue of Your TIMES.