Still Few Leads in Sheriff's Slaying

Monday, October 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(CLEVELAND) - Investigators have had no success locating a man whose name was among the last words of fatally wounded Pawnee County Sheriff Dwight Woodrell Jr.

Woodrell, 36, was shot and killed Saturday when he stopped to investigate suspicious activity outside an oil and gas drilling company near Cleveland.

The dying sheriff uttered the name Robert Weller, but several Oklahomans share that name. The investigation had yielded no suspect by that name, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kym Koch said Monday.

Investigators were questioning whether it was a case of mistaken identity, she said.

Law officers also continued to search for a red, full-size pickup that was seen leaving Spess Drilling Co., where Woodrell was fatally wounded around 3 a.m. They planned to talk Monday with the owner of the company and run down other leads, Koch said.

Deputies who responded to Woodrell's call for backup units found him inside his sheriff's car. He had been shot but was still conscious and answered some of the deputies' questions.

Undersheriff Don Sweger, 29, rode with Woodrell in the ambulance to the Cleveland Hospital.

``He could not speak. I held his head and tried to comfort him,'' said Sweger, who was appointed undersheriff earlier this year shortly after Woodrell began his first term as elected sheriff.

Woodrell was appointed sheriff in 1999 after Sheriff Leroy Bryant resigned, and then won his own four-year term last fall.

Services for Woodrell are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Cleveland High School gymnasium. Woodrell is survived by his wife and four children.

The Pawnee County Courthouse will close all day for the service. City offices in Pawnee will close at noon Wednesday, and Cleveland city offices also will close for the funeral, officials said.

If you have any information that could provide more leads in this case, contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation or the Pawnee County Sheriff's office immediately.