By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
A man arrested in connection with the Valentine’s night death of a 53-year-old Enid man at a local bar was arraigned Thursday on a second-degree murder charge.
Grady Wayne Lewallen, 33, appeared via video before Special District Judge Brian Lovell and was arraigned on one count of second-degree murder. Because of five prior felony convictions in Arkansas, Lewallen faces 20 years to life in prison on the charge accusing him of beating Robert Abraham to death.
During his arraignment, Lewallen kept his head bowed. When asked if he was planning to hire his own attorney or request a court-appointed one, Lewallen answered, “I don’t know yet.”
Lovell ordered him to return to court Feb. 21 for a bond appearance, and told him bond was set at $1 million.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Enid Police Department received a 911 call at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday from The Mine Co., 4709 W. Garriott, reporting an unresponsive man being found in the restroom.
Responding officers arrived and learned Abraham had been involved in a fight with a man and was in “very serious condition,” the affidavit states. Abraham was taken by Life EMS to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, where boot prints were found on his neck and torso. An emergency room doctor told police there was a boot impression on the man’s neck, and it was believed his throat was crushed. Hospital staff reported they had problems establishing an airway for Abraham due to the injury to his neck.
Abraham succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 11:57 p.m.
Sgt. Kevin Bezdicek responded to the scene and learned from witnesses Lewallen had been at the bar playing pool and had an incident a few months before with Abraham, according to the affidavit.
Detective John Robinson interviewed Lewallen at Enid Police Department, and Lewallen told him he had been playing pool at the bar and went to use the restroom. He said Abraham came into the bathroom and kicked the door of the stall open. Lewallen said he jumped up and push -kicked Abraham in the stomach, according to the affidavit.
Lewallen was wearing boots during the interview, and Robinson asked if those were the same boots he was wearing at the time. Lewallen said they were the same boots and noted they were steel toed.
Lewallen said Abraham fell after he initially kicked him and he kicked Abraham a total of five or six times, according to the affidavit. He also said when the stall door was kicked open it struck his right leg around his knee.
Robinson left the room and began watching Lewallen on a monitor from a camera within the interview room, according to the affidavit. Lewallen began to punch his right knee and pulled down his pants and drug his leg across the edge of the table in the room, according to the affidavit.
Robinson returned to the room and asked Lewallen if he had any injuries to report. Lewallen pulled up his pant leg and showed Robinson a long red mark on his leg. Robinson told Lewallen he saw what he had done to inflict the injury himself and asked him why he did it.
“Grady said since he told me he had an injury, he needed to have one,” Robinson wrote in the affidavit.
Detective Shawn Ramsey spoke to a bartender at the club who said she came to work at about 9:30 p.m., and was speaking to Abraham when Lewallen came up to her and asked if Abraham was the guy he and others had gotten into it with before. She said he was, but told Lewallen to leave him alone because he wasn’t bothering anyone, according to the affidavit.
She said Abraham went into the bathroom and a short time later she heard he was down in the bathroom. She said Lewallen told her not to say anything, according to the affidavit, and it was then she knew he had to have done something. She said Lewallen told her this as he was running out of the bar with his wife and a friend. She said when she came out of the bathroom, the three were gone.
Robinson interviewed Zach Noon, who said he had been playing pool with Lewallen and others when he saw Lewallen go into the restroom.
Noon said a short time later Abraham went into the restroom. He said he thought he heard some noise, and Lewallen came out of the restroom and said someone should go check on Abraham, because he may need an ambulance, according to the affidavit. Noon said Lewallen told him he’d hit Abraham from behind in the head. Noon said Lewallen told him he’d punched or kicked Abraham down, and then punched and kicked him while he was down, according to the affidavit.
Noon said he drove by the bar when officers were speaking to Lewallen, and noted he was wearing a different shirt than he’d been wearing at the bar, according to the affidavit. Detective Tim Doyle served a search warrant for Lewallen’s vehicle, and found a long-sleeve button-up shirt inside.
Detective Mark Pettus interviewed George Lardie, Lewallen’s father-in-law, who provided a written statement.
Lardie’s statement shows about a year to a year and a half ago, Abraham had made some “rude statements” about family in front of others at the bar, according to the affidavit.
Lardie said he was not upset about it and let it go because Abraham was drunk and it was not worth fighting or causing trouble over. Lewallen learned of the incident a few months ago and wanted to start something, but things were settled before they got out of hand, Lardie said in his statement.
Lardie said in his statement Lewallen had called him up and asked if they were coming to the club, because Abraham was there. Lardie said he told Lewallen to let it go. “You need to stay out of trouble. It was about 11 p.m. when Grady called back and came by, and said he beat him up and the responders were at the club because of it,” Lardie said in the affidavit.
Funeral arrangements for Abraham are pending with Anderson-Burris Funeral Home.