Testimony Underway In Muskogee Teen's Death

Monday, February 2nd 2009, 11:47 am
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

MUSKOGEE, OK -- Prosecutors began presenting their evidence against Jerry Raney on Monday in Muskogee County District Court.  He's charged with the murder of his 19-year-old stepdaughter, whose body was found in a barrel in Haskell more than two years ago.  A judge will decide if there's enough to send him to trial for murder.

The body of 19-year-old Sara Smart was found in the summer of 2006.   Two years and two days later, her step-dad, Jerry Raney, was charged with the crime.  

Related story: 8/08/2008  Step-Father Charged In Murder

During Monday's hearing, Sara's best friend testified that just two days before she disappeared Sara called her and said Raney tried to rape her and threatened to kill her if she spoke out.        

The owner of the land testified he had seen the 55 gallon barrel which contained Smart's remains floating in his pond in early February 2006, but only it wasn't close enough to the edge of the pond to open the lid until that summer.

Sara's stepmother said she's been waiting for Raney to be brought to trial for three years.

Raney's attorneys admit that Sara was last seen with their client, but they say that's because he dropped at a Muskogee restaurant.

Raney maintains he is innocent. The hearing is scheduled to go through Wednesday.