Sunday, February 23, 2014

Officer Mark Ridley Jr Released on Bond

A Muskogee police officer who is facing several felony charges was released from jail Friday after a $50,000 bond was set.

Mark Vernon Ridley Jr., 39, of Oktaha had been held without bond in the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility since his arrest last month.

Ridley was arrested after he allegedly crashed his truck into his wife’s car and kidnapped her at gunpoint.

On Jan. 31, he was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, forcible sodomy and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.

Ridley was placed on paid administrative leave in December after allegations of assault, abuse, stalking and harassment surfaced.

Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore said Ridley had tried to commit suicide while in custody at the jail.

Larry Langley, special district judge for Sequoyah County District Court, set Ridley’s bond at $50,000 and ordered Ridley to be under 24-hour supervision with the understanding that the person providing supervision will insure that Ridley takes his prescribed medication. The judge also ruled that Ridley could not have access to firearms and was ordered to not have contact with his wife or witnesses in the case.

Langley was assigned to the case after Muskogee County’s Special District Judge Robin Adair recused himself.

In requesting a reduction in bond Friday, defense attorney Donn Baker told the judge that Ridley was unstable initially, but no longer poses a risk.

Baker said a Feb. 17 letter from a nurse practitioner at a local health facility who had evaluated Ridley proved “he is much more stable and doing a lot better.” Ridley was “not in danger to himself or anyone else,” Baker said.

In the Feb. 17 letter, Michael S. Smith, a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) with Muskogee Family Care, states, “Though he was quite unstable, and even suicidal, initially upon his entry into the jail, he has now become much more stable and, in my opinion, does not represent any danger to himself or others.”

The letter continues, “Additionally, I have discussed his case with the mental health provider from Green Country Behavioral Health, who interviewed Officer Ridley, who likewise believes that he does not represent any threat to himself.”

Ridley’s father and other individuals were willing to provide 24-hour supervision if Ridley was free on bond, Baker said.

The office of Eddie Wyant, district attorney for Delaware and Ottawa counties, was named to prosecute the case after Muskogee County District Moore recused himself.

Jennifer Ellis, an assistant district attorney in Ottawa County, said the state objected to the bond for Ridley.

“Our position is one of safety” for Ridley and Ridley’s wife, she said.

If Ridley was released on bond, then the only benefit would be a “reactive situation” if Ridley violated the conditions of bond and that Ridley could harm himself or others.

“We feel the risk is just too high,” she said.

She added that the state believes that Ridley should remain incarcerated in jail or be placed in a mental health facility until the preliminary hearing.

A status hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 16. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, a judge will determine if Ridley should stand trial.

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