Before he pleaded guilty Wednesday, a Muskogee man offered to apologize to the man he robbed.
Braxton Wade Owens, 24, pleaded guilty to robbery by force or fear and conspiracy in Muskogee County District Court. Owens was accused of beating and robbing E.J. Mayes, a local businessman, May 19, 2011.
A presentence investigation must be completed before Owens returns to court at 9 a.m. Sept. 12. District Judge Darrell Shepherd could sentence Owens up to life in prison.
Owens appeared contrite at the hearing, even offering to shake Mayes’ hand, though Mayes’ family declined.
“I’m coming to you as a man, I’m sorry,” Owens said in court. “I hope one day you can accept that.”
Muskogee police said Owens went to Mayes’ automotive repair and towing service to ask about buying a car. Owens then grabbed and beat Mayes when they went outside.
When asked by Shepherd what he did, Owens said he “grabbed (Mayes) by the neck and put him on the ground,” taking about $5,000 from the 74-year old Mayes.
Outside the courtroom, Mayes’ family disagreed with how Owens described the robbery.
“He choked (Mayes) so hard that he had a stroke,” Debbie Baker, Mayes’ daughter said. “A week later, I took pictures of his neck and it was still all dark from all the bruises.”
Mayes’ son, Steve Mayes, was at Mayes’ shop the day of the robbery.
“He poked him in the eye until it bled,” Steve Mayes said. “It changed his life forever.”
Assistant District Attorney James Carnagey said the range of punishment for Owens is between 10 years and life in prison. Because the crime is an 85 percent crime, Owens will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Braxton Wade Owens will return to Muskogee County District Court at 9 a.m. Sept. 12 for sentencing.