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January 15, 2014

‘Halloween’ mask prank backfires on holdup defendant

DUNCAN — A jury on Tuesday sentenced a Duncan man to 25 years in prison for an armed robbery.

A so-called “Mike Myers” mask popularized in the Halloween horror movies was a key in the conviction of Dakota John Smith, 20, the prosecutor said.

Shawn Christensen, a Duncan woman whose daughter had been dating another suspect in the armed robbery, said Smith used the mask to scare her during a prank at her home.

  She ripped the mask from the defendant’s face and tossed it into the air, she said.

  The incident occurred roughly around the time of the 3 a.m. armed robbery about a mile from her home, testimony showed.

District Attorney Jason Hicks said the mask, later recovered by officers where Christensen said it would be, was the key piece of evidence in the case.

  Duncan patrol officer Joshua Branch and Christensen also testified that Smith’s voice was identical to the voice heard on a surveillance video of  two masked men robbing the Chisolm Corner #5 store on U.S. 81 at Plato.

“It was obvious the jury believed those two witnesses,” Hicks said. “The jury did a really good job. They paid attention to the testimony.”

The jury deliberated less than hour.

Smith must serve about 21 years of the 25-year sentence before he will be eligible for parole because state law requires first-degree robbery convicts to serve 85 percent of their prison terms.

Smith’s mother was moved to tears by the verdict.

“He is not a bad kid,” Michelle Smith said. “We begged for help.”

She said she moved her family from Texas to Duncan because she heard Oklahoma was a good place to raise children. Smith began having “problems” about age 13, she said.

Smith was one of four Duncan men arrested for three convenience store robberies in late.

Tre Demetrius Babineaux, 18, pleaded guilty in December and received a 15  year term.

Peyton Thad Graham, 20, waived his right to a jury trial and will next appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 5.

A jury trial for Quincy Sahtoren Barnes, 20, is scheduled for today.

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