Man who confessed to killing three pleads not guilty

By Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor

Richard Lewis, 61, a former Sharp County man who confessed to killing three people, including two Sharp County residents in Tallequah, Okla. on Jan. 16, pled not guilty at his arraignment March 7 in Cherokee County, Okla. Several members of the murder victim’s families were present for the proceedings.

Lewis, of Stillwell, Okla., was arrested on Jan. 28 and later that evening, confessed to killing Quinley Lamb, 43, and Brian Shackelford, 51 of Sharp County, as well as his girlfriend, DeAnna Tippey, 36 of Cherokee County, Okla.

Lewis’ original arraignment hearing was set for March 1. At that hearing, Associate Judge Joshua King informed Lewis his application requesting in-custody counsel  be appointed to him could not be approved with unanswered questions regarding real property he owned. After telling the judge he only owned a truck and a bank account with an unspecified amount of money, he was granted a public defender effective March 1. The case was then continued until the following Monday, March 7. 

Lewis was charged with three counts of First Degree Murder on Jan. 31 and ordered to be held on no bond. Since his arrest and incarceration, Lewis has been held on a suicide watch at the Cherokee County Detention Center. 

At the preceding, Lewis’ attorney, Velia Lopez of Sapulpa, Okla., spoke on behalf of her client to Judge Joshua King. King read Lewis’ charges and he pled not guilty. 

Prior to his arraignment, documents were filed with the court on behalf of Lewis, including a Notice of Invocation of all Constitutional Rights.

In the court documentation, Lewis cited several constitutional amendments and his objection to “any interview, questioning, interrogation, conversation or other verbal or written communication or its functional equivalent related to any investigation of any violation or suspected violation of the law and any matters which might reasonably be related to any such violation or suspected violation.”

Lewis’ attorney also filed a request to remove him from suicide watch and subpoenas for documentation of medical care provided him since he has been incarcerated. 

Cherokee County law enforcement was contacted about the murders on Jan. 28,  by Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts after victim Quinley Lamb’s brother, Jimmie, called Counts when he discovered his sister’s body. Both Lamb and Shackelford’s bodies were discovered buried in a shallow grave on Lewis’ property in Eldon Hills, Lamb on a visit seeking knowledge of his missing sister’s whereabouts.

Lewis’ ex wife, Christina Orosz, also of Sharp County, led Jimmie Lamb to the property where his sister’s body was located. Lamb, who had been reported missing on Jan. 24  in Sharp County,  was located. Media was not alerted or given a missing person’s report in Lamb’s case in order to assist the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department with determining her whereabouts through placement of missing persons photos on social media and websites. 

While police in Cherokee County were obtaining a search warrant for Lewis’ property,  Orosz was in contact with her ex-husband and attempted to get him to turn himself in to authorities, according to Lamb.

Lewis later contacted Eldon Graves, a family member and detective with the Tahlequah Police Department and told Graves he killed “two people”. He was taken into custody at the Cherokee Nation Casino without incident. 

While searching Lewis’ property, the bodies were located. Lewis later confessed to killing the three.

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