Ward charges dismissed, records expunged

District Attorney Jack Thorp, through Assistant District Attorney Mike Dunagan, Monday dismissed charges against Julie Ward, the former CEO/Administrator at Northeastern Health System Sequoyah in Sallisaw.

Ward, of Vian, had been charged, along with her husband Robert Ward, with knowingly concealing stolen property following an investigation by the Sequoyah County Sheriff's office. As of Tuesday, Robert Ward is still scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the charge 9 a.m. Monday (June 18) before Special District Judge Matt Orendorff.

Orendorff granted Dunagan's motion to dismiss without prejudice “in the best interest of justice,” stating the “court finds that the above motion to dismiss is well taken and should be granted. It is further ordered that all reference to the defendant (including defendant's name, date of birth and Social Security number) shall be expunged from the court record.”

Ward and her husband were charged in March with knowingly concealing stolen property after they were questioned by investigators about a Kubota tractor that had been stolen in Muskogee County in February.

In the investigator's affidavit that accompanied the charge, a witness told investigators  he had seen the tractor in question being hauled by a long-bed Dodge pickup. A second witness reported to investigators of seeing a similar tractor being driven down a country road, followed by a black Honda Ridgeline.

One of the investigators said in the affidavit that he was familiar with a black Honda Ridgeline pickup owned by Robert Ward.

Julie Ward was questioned when investigators went to the Ward home in Vian and questioned her about a Kubota tractor that was parked near their home. According to the affidavit, Ward told investigators they had owned the tractor for three or four years. At the time she was questioned, Robert Ward was not home, but he returned home while investigators were examining the tractor.

When Robert Ward was asked about the tractor, he told investigators he had had the tractor a couple of days, and he had paid a man from Muskogee $2,000 as a down payment and brought the tractor home to try it out.

Sequoyah County Times

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