Jennifer Austin of the Cleveland County DA's office said the charge against Myrna Wrabel's husband John Wrabel, has been dropped to misdemeanor violence, “But we can't prove he injured her,” said Austin. “There is insufficient evidence to make a case, so we can't proceed.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who was handed the case after District Attorney John Wampler disqualified himself and all assistant district attorneys serving in Judicial District #3, said the DA's Office there would not make any decisions in the case prior to hearing from the medical examiner's office.
After a reexamination, Austin said that their medical examiner again ruled that his findings were inconclusive because of evidence at the scene, injuries and other factors.
“We turned it over to an independent medical examiner in Indiana, who also said they couldn't make the determination that the death was a homicide,” Austin said. “Because of this, we had to file a dismissal.”
Wrabel, 68, had been charged with felony domestic assault and battery following the death of Myrna Wrabel, on April 10, 2004, at Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Lawton, where she was flown by Air-Vac after being beaten April 7, 2004, at the family residence, 15836 S. County Road 206.
However, at a preliminary hearing conference in the case held April 22, 2005, Wrabel appeared with his attorney and the District Attorney's Office reduced the charge to a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of $3,000, or both.
The “Amended Information” filed states that Wrabel committed the abuse “by willfully and unlawfully striking Myrna Wrabel, the spouse, on the head, causing left frontoparietal and temporal acute subdural hematoma in the face, and on her legs and left buttock, causing bruises, with his hands, feet and/or unknown object, with force and violence and with unlawful intent to do Myrna Wrabel corporal hurt and bodily injury.”
The decision to drop the charge to a misdemeanor was said to be based on the findings of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in an autopsy report completed July 28, 2004, that the manner of Mrs. Wrabel's death was undetermined.
The report states that the probable cause of death of Mrs. Wrabel, who was 65 at the time, was blunt force head trauma. Her death was termed “violent, unusual and unnatural.” Yet the report, written by Jeffery Gofton, M.D., summarizes that, “It appears from the medical record information by the patient on how the injuries were received are somewhat conflicting, and does not appear to be clear whether the injuries to the head and other bruises were inflicted, or received in an accidental circumstance, such as a fall. Therefore, the manner of death will be listed as undetermined. Should other information that can clarify this situation be presented, the manner of death may be re-evaluated.”