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NEWS: Crime

Cushing Man, 97, Arrested In Shooting Death Of Granddaughter

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Russell Eugene Dawes mug shot. Russell Eugene Dawes mug shot.
CUSHING, Oklahoma -

A 97-year-old great-grandfather sits in the Payne County jail Friday night for first-degree murder.

Russell Eugene Dawes is accused of murdering his 30-year-old great granddaughter in his home Thursday. The Payne County DA says in all his time, his office has never had a 97-year-old suspect in a murder case.

Dawes admitted to sheriff's deputies that he shot and killed his 30-year-old great granddaughter Thursday morning. According to court documents, it was around 9 a.m. when the funeral director at Davis Funeral Home in Cushing got a phone call from his good friend, Russell Dawes.

Dawes asked for help with a dead body.

"He pretty well admitted that he shot her and the reason for it. He describes here as he was tired of her ‘carrying on,'" said Payne and Logan County DA, Tom Lee.

"I was shocked. Very shocked," said neighbor, Harold Spencer.

Spencer and his wife Peggy were heading back home from Stillwater Thursday afternoon when they saw at least a dozen police cars outside Dawes' home. But it was Thursday morning when the couple heard sirens, and saw an ambulance outside the home.

"That was my first thought, that well, he's died up there, or family or something," said Spencer.

That wasn't the case. His great granddaughter, 30-year-old Sonja James, was found shot to death in the back bedroom.

"She was living with him. She was caring for him," said foster mother, Lori Shrewcraft.

Shrewcraft tells News 9 her foster daughter was very patient, smart, and creative, who loved and cared for people.

"She was always like an angel. She was very nurturing. I had her for like three years in my home, her teenage years," said Shrewcraft. "I will learn to just deal with it slowly."

"He should be prosecuted and punished for his act," said Lee.

News 9 is told Sonja James leaves behind an 8-year-old son.

Dawes was arraigned Friday afternoon. Dawes will re-appear before a judge again Feb.3, that's when a preliminary hearing is expected to be set. The 97-year-old is being held without bond.

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