Tulsa Man Arrested After Being Granted Deferred Sentence
TULSA, Oklahoma - A man who pleaded guilty to armed robbery six months ago is now charged with another violent crime.
The first time around, Preston Merrihew didn't get any jail time. Now, he's accused of dragging a woman out of a UPS van.
Prosecutors say they argued strongly for Merrihew to go to prison after the first robbery, but that didn't happen, and now there's a new victim.
Prosecutors say Merrihew rented a home from a Tulsa couple in their 50's until he got kicked out for stealing the man's cancer drugs.
They say Merrihew went back with a friend and forced their way into the couple's home, knocked them down, one of the men put a gun to their heads and they demanded money and more drugs.
He took off with their television, got caught and later pleaded guilty before a judge.
The District Attorney's office argued Merrihew should go to prison for 20 years.
Records show the 20-year-old had no previous charges.
Merrihew claimed he'd previously bought drugs from the couple and says he went there to get back the $800 he'd paid in rent. He said he handled it badly because he was angry and under the influence of drugs and asked the judge to let him learn from his mistake and not let it ruin the rest of his life.
The judge gave Merrihew a ten year deferred sentence.
Police and prosecutors weren't happy.
Sergeant Brandon Watkins, of the Tulsa Police Department, said "What we want to see is that these guys never see freedom again for the rest of their natural lives."
Six months later, reports show officers took Merrihew to a hospital because he seemed to be high on meth.
They say he left the hospital, still wearing his gown, with his I.V. attached.
The surveillance video shows him hiding in a dumpster, then approaching a UPS driver and dragging her out of the van by her feet.
She ran into a store and a security guard held Merrihew for police.
The same judge that sentenced Merrihew previously, signed a warrant for Merrihew and ordered him held without bond on the old case.
The District Attorney's office filed a motion asking he also be held without bond on the new case.
Police and prosecutors hope Merrihew goes to prison this time.
"The thing about robbery is, it's not a one and out kind of deal. Once you get started, they keep on doing it until we put them in prison," Watkins said.
Judge Kurt Glassco said he can't comment on this case because Merrihew will be back in front of him for sentencing.
Prosecutors say if Merrihew is found guilty of violating his deferred sentence, he could go to prison for seven years and up to life.
They say if he's convicted on the new charge, that'll be five more years.