Jury convicts Muskogee man of murder, judge to decide penalty

Wednesday, October 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Muskogee-AP) -- A judge will decide the penalty of a Muskogee man convicted of the 1999 shooting death of a local barber and part-time rancher.

A jury found Donald Ray Shumate guilty of first-degree murder for the shooting of Jack Guthrie. But the panel couldn't agree on a penalty for Shumate. A judge is scheduled to sentence Shumate on November 29th.

Guthrie was well known throughout Muskogee as owner and operator of the downtown Owl Barbershop. He had worked at the shop for 40 years, most of that time he spent as owner.

Shumate denies he shot Guthrie. He says he merely fired a pistol into the air following an altercation after Shumate and three other men trespassed on Guthrie's land to go fishing.

Prosecutors say none of the other three witnesses directly said Shumate shot Guthrie. But they testified that he did have a gun and fired it during the encounter.