> Security was tight at the Crook County Courthouse Thursday afternoon, visitors had to pass through a metal detector to gain entry and uniformed officers watched every hallway. The cause for the watchfulness of the police officers and sheriff's deputies was the possibility of trouble during a scheduled arraignment.
Marty Lane May's blocky body, dressed in the white jail jumpsuit issued to jail inmates, stood straight as Circuit Court Judge Gary Thompson read the list of charges against him - unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree "of a person under the age of 14 years, to wit: a two-year old child" and first degree sexual abuse.
In a quiet voice, the accused answered with a simple "yes" when the judge asked if he understood what pleading guilty or no contest to the charges meant. Both crimes are Measure 11 offenses and one carries a minimum penalty of 100 months in prison, the other 75 months.
As District Attorney Gary Williams explained the case he was prepared to bring to trial if the plea was not accepted, the 41-year old offender slouched in the chair next to his public defender.
Early in February, Williams told the court, the mother of the child discovered what had happened and reported it to the police. The process of interviews and medical examinations made it clear that the abuse had taken place. The defendant was then interviewed and at first admitted to most but not all of what evidence indicated took place.
When confronted with the medical evidence, Williams said Mays broke down and admitted that he had just come down from a five-day methamphetamine binge and "his memory about the incident was fuzzy." Soon after making that statement, the accused admitted his guilt.
As part of the stipulated plea, Williams asked that the offender submit to a pre-sentencing investigation, "for the purpose of getting background for the court when deciding on the sentence."
While both are Measure 11 crimes, the question the judge will have to determine is whether Mays should serve his sentence consecutively or concurrently. That sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 11.
According to the Crook County Undersheriff, Jim Hensley, the decision to beef up security at the courthouse on Thursday afternoon was made by Circuit Court Judge George Neilson.
The three local judges have suggested the practice of stepping up security should happen a few times a year, randomly. When Hensley believed he had cause to request the tight security, Neilson agreed. Hensley would not elaborate on his reasons for making the request.
It is interesting, Hensley pointed out, that most people aren)t aware of the law concerning carrying weapons into the courthouse.
"People don't realize that pocket knifes are considered weapons," Hensley said. "And they could be charged with a crime under state law for carrying even the littlest knife into the courthouse."
In the two hours that security was in place, about 40 people, not counting county employees, passed through the metal detector. In that time, Hensley said, eight knifes were confiscated. Other people, rather than giving up their pocket knife, decided not to go into the courthouse or simply left the knife in their car.