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April 19, 2012

Teen gets 20 years in plea deal

Ada — One of three teens suspected of robbing and beating an elderly Ada man in January 2011 entered a plea of no contest Thursday.

Grant Ellis Johnson, 18, Ada, appeared in Pontotoc District Court and pleaded to assault and battery with attempt to kill, first-degree burglary, robbery with a weapon, larceny of an automobile, conspiracy and maiming.

He is one of three teens accused in the beating and robbery of then 85-year-old Claude Arterburn. Authorities said Arterburn was found near death at his home.

Johnson was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison with 20 years suspended for assault and battery with attempt to kill charge; 20 years for robbery with a weapon; 20 years for first-degree burglary; 20 years for larceny of an auto; 10 years for conspiracy to commit a felony, and seven years for maiming. All counts will run concurrently.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison said Johnson will have to serve 85 percent of 20 years before he is eligible for parole.

Authorities discovered the crime had occurred when Johnson was pulled over while allegedly driving Arterburn’s pickup. Ada Police Officer Kathy Unbewust became suspicious of Johnson after speaking with him and requested sheriff’s deputies respond to Arterburn’s residence on County Road 1549 near Latta Road.

According to authorities, deputies Kenneth Heck and Jacob Castleberry responded and located the glass broken out of the front door of Arterburn’s residence. Heck looked in the window and located Mr. Arterburn lying in the floor covered in blood.

Authorities believe Arterburn was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed several times before being found two days later. He was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where he spent weeks in intensive care for multiple facial and skull fractures and internal bleeding.

The suspects had taken a large amount of cash and stole Arterburn’s pickup, authorities said. One suspect, Trey Lee Irvin, pleaded no contest in January, 2012, to the same charges and was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison.

Another suspect, Daniel Wayne Vivier, 19, is scheduled to stand trial on the same charges Sept. 18, 2012. According to a court affidavit, Vivier reportedly told authorities the three went to burglarize the house and implicated Irvin as the one who committed the beating with a baseball bat.

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