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May 24, 2017

No Trial for Whitmus


Just days before his trial was to begin, former Luther band teacher Kyle Whitumus has taken a deal with prosecutors.

The most serious charge, that of first-degree rape, has been dropped; and Whitmus, 34, has entered a blind plea of guilty to two counts of inappropriate texting with a minor. According to Whitmus’ attorney Sam Talley, Whitmus also pleaded no contest to improper touching (lewd molestation).

Talley said the District Attorney’s offer came in about 4:45 pm on Thursday, and his client accepted the offer.

Talley said his client had confessed to OSBI authorities as far back as October 2015 that he had inappropriately texted the student who was 12 at the time; but Whitmus repeatedly denied the rape allegations.

Jury selection was to begin Monday at Oklahoma County District Court, with the trial expected to last at least a week. The state’s witness list included almost 60 persons that included many Luther students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Whitmus has been in the Oklahoma County jail since his arrest on February 2, 2015.

Prosecutors reportedly will ask for prison time for Whitmus, up to 20 – 30 years. During a bond reduction hearing last year, prosecutors told the court that Whitmus, as a teacher, was in a position of authority over his young victim.  Whitmus was the music teacher at Luther from 2009 – 2015.

During the preliminary hearing last year, the victim testified about the relationship. Part of the evidence in the case was more than 2,000 text messages between Whitmus and the student.

Sentencing will be given by a judge, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 24, 2017.

 

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Dawn Shelton and her family moved to rural Luther in 2010 after years of living near downtown OKC. Her professional background is in media, public relations, writing and even managing a winery and event venue down the road. Her dream of launching an online news service for Luther came true in November 2015 through humbling and encouraging support from friends and neighbors. THANK YOU. Send story ideas or inquire about advertising partnerships dawnshelton@lutherregister.news