Last updated: August 07. 2014 12:57PM - 921 Views
By - mswearengin@civitasmedia.com

Raymond Stewart
Raymond Stewart
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A preliminary hearing began Wednesday for a defendant charged with killing a man and dumping his body in a creek.

Raymond J. Stewart, 26, Durant, was charged in March with first-degree murder, deliberate intent. He is accused of killing Steven Lee Sessums, 32, Mead, after an altercation that began at a tavern.

Authorities began investigating when a passerby saw a body in Canella Creek off Old Highway 70 east of Durant.

The victim initially was unknown until the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation identified him as Sessums, who died from blunt trauma to the head and neck.

A probable-cause affidavit by Bryan County District Attorney Investigator David Cathey states that authorities questioned Destinee Delozier, identified as Stewart’s girlfriend, and she said she witnessed an altercation between Stewart and another man who had not been identified at the time of the interview.

The affidavit states that a struggle occurred in her home in the 200 block of East Locust Street and that the man who was later found in a creek became incapacitated.

Delozier made statements to investigators that indicated Stewart’s pickup was used to take the incapacitated man to the creek east of Durant, the affidavit states.

OSBI Agent Reanae Childers interviewed Stewart, and according to the affidavit, he admitted to the altercation with the unidentified man and also driving him to the creek, where he pushed the body over the bridge.

The cause of the altercation was not revealed in the affidavit, however, OSBI previously said that it began at a Durant tavern. Stewart has prior convictions for knowingly concealing stolen property and false declaration of ownership in pawn. He was sentenced to five years in prison on these charges in 2009. According to online Oklahoma Department of Corrections records, he was released from prison in November 2013.

Stewart’s attorney, Michael Haggerty II, said Wedneday’s hearing was recessed at 5 p.m. and will continue at 3 p.m. Friday. Stewart remains in jail on $1 million bond.

Reach Matt Swearengin at (580) 634-2160 or DDDEditor@Twitter.com.

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