Suspect Accused of Killing Bar Owner Hospitalized
Raymond “Larry” Nichols, accused of killing a man in May 2009, was set to appear in a LeFlore County court Tuesday (Aug. 27) but missed the appearance because he was hospitalized.
A judge transferred the date of the sounding docket to Sept. 24, according to a circuit clerk. On that day a preliminary hearing will be held and the judge will set a trial date.
Nichols, 60, is in a Tulsa hospital for medical treatment. It is unclear what he is hospitalized for. District Attorney Jeff Smith said Nichols had been in the hospital for a few days.
Nichols was arrested on a first degree murder charge in the death of his former brother-in-law Joe Neff on Aug. 8, authorities said. Neff, 62, was reported missing on May 14, 2009, after a bar employee found what appeared to be a crime scene at the Long Branch Saloon south of Poteau, according to an affidavit. Neff owned the bar.
Three days later, a fisherman found Neff’s body with a gunshot wound to the neck in a strip pit near Pocola, about 30 miles away from the bar, according to the affidavit.
Nichols had pleaded not guilty to the charge. Smith said he is not sure if the state will seek the death penalty in the case.