Trial ordered for two men

Tuesday, August 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A Tulsa County judge has ordered two men to stand trial for allegedly soliciting the murder of the wife of one of the defendants. At a preliminary hearing Monday, Special Judge Kyle Haskins found sufficient evidence to support one felony count against Earl A.J. "Sonny" McNatt, 43, of Broken Arrow and Allen Peter Sandbothe, 30, of Tulsa.

Prosecutors have charged the two under an "alternative" theory-- alleging that they committed either the crime of conspiracy to commit murder or solicitation for murder -- linked to accusations that they tried to get Cecil Bolen of Sapulpa to kill McNatt's wife, Lauri McNatt.

Police arrested the men in April after another man told authorities that Sandbothe had asked him to carry out the hit on Mrs. McNatt. Investigators then set up a sting with the woman's cooperation.They used staged photos of Mrs. McNatt appearing to be dead in the trunk of a car to make it appear the hit had been carried out. Unaware of the sting, Sandbothe reportedly called McNatt to bring the $1,000 payoff and was arrested by undercover officers. McNatt was arrested when he arrived at the site with $1,486 in his pockets, police said. Mrs. McNatt filed for divorce on April 19. McNatt was ordered to have no contact with his wife or her relatives.

Attorney Clark Brewster, representing Sonny McNatt, argued that there is no evidence of any "agreement" between the two defendants, a necessary legal element of a conspiracy charge. Brewster also said that evidence to support a solicitation-for-murder theory is "absent" and said Sandbothe told police after his arrest that McNatt didn't want his wife killed.