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January 21, 2014

Manslaughter, assault trials set for this week

DUNCAN — Two felony cases are set for jury trials this week in Stephens County District Court.

Zachary Colbert Cantwell, 23, of Duncan, will appear today on a charge of aggravated assault and battery charges.

John Judson Claxton, 38, of Wilson, is scheduled to appear Wednesday on manslaughter in the first degree after conviction of two or more felonies.

The felony charges against both defendants were filed in 2012.

n Zachary Cantwell

Cantwell was arrested in December 2012 after an alleged disagreement with his mother’s boyfriend, Wayne Maner.

According to the affidavit, Cantwell struck Maner “ several times in the face and head causing severe brain injury and facial trauma.”

Maner filed an assault and battery report with the Duncan Police Department about the altercation, which allegedly involved a motorcycle. In that report, Maner said he was helping Cantwell load a motorcycle into a horse trailer. Cantwell’s mother, Susan Cantwell, wanted to see proof of purchase of the motorcycle.

After Zachary Cantwell showed the report to his mother, she “saw something wrong with it right off,” according to the affidavit.

Zachary Cantwell filed an assault and battery report against Maner. The right side of Cantwell’s face was red and swelling, according to the affidavit. In the affidavit, Susan Cantwell said the two men traded blows until she broke up the fight.

After that, she said she observed Zachary Cantwell “running at the back of Wayne Maner and strike him in the back, knocking Wayne Maner down and unconscious,” according to the affidavit. “Susan Cantwell states at that time Zachary Cantwell then straddled Wayne Maner and started beating him with his fists. Susan Cantwell goes on and states that she thought Wayne Maner was dead.”

In Maner’s report, he wrote, “I was standing on a sidewalk ... and I was looking across the street at something. I remember him hitting me and from there that pretty much ends it.”

n John Judson Claxton

Claxton is charged with manslaughter after his involvement in a two-vehicle accident in December 2012, on new Oklahoma Highway 7 in Velma. The accident resulted in the death of Robert Bench.

Bench was driving a white Buick Century, while Claxton was driving a Peterbuilt truck pulling a tanker trailer loaded with crude oil, according to the affidavit. The truck was heading west on Oklahoma Highway 7, while the Buick was heading north on Perdue.

The car “did not stop at the stop sign and pulled out in front of the truck, which resulted in the truck colliding with the car,” according to the affidavit.

Because his driver’s licenses was under suspension, Claxton was arrested.

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