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March 31, 2013

Perjury charges filed against former witness

DUNCAN — A Ringling resident, Sara Melton, has been charged in Stephens County District Court, with perjury, based on alleged false testimony she provided in a preliminary hearing case in 2011.

Charges were filed against Melton on March 15 and a warrant was issued, with bond set for $10,000. According to court records, Melton appeared in court for the charges on March 22. She was issued an order of release on March 26. She is scheduled for a summary of facts hearing at 2 p.m. May 10 and is required to have an attorney. A preliminary hearing conference is set for 9 a.m. May 29.

Initial discovery of the allegations against Melton, 25, date back to April 2012.

Based on review of recorded jail conversations with Melton’s husband Joe Dan Melton, who was arrested after a traffic stop, District 6 Task Force Chief Investigator Justin Scott said in an affidavit that Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations Agent Robert Williams discovered that the information she told her husband did not line up with the testimony she presented in court. That testimony was against former Stephens County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Balthrop who had been charged with multiple counts in 2010 based on allegations brought forth by Sara Melton. Balthrop was found not guilty by a jury in 2012.

Upon confrontation by Williams, Scott said Melton started crying saying she had wanted to tell the truth but was scared to do so, after already giving false testimony. According to the affidavit, Melton alleges that her mother-in-law Teresa Tiger had forced her to embellish the story to make it sound worse than what it was, to assist in a lawsuit against Balthrop.

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