published Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Murder trial to start for surviving home invader whose accomplice was shot, killed by a young widow

CHICKASHA, Okla. — The trial of a man charged with first-degree murder after his accomplice was shot and killed when the two allegedly broke into the home of a young widow is scheduled to begin Monday.

The trial of Dustin Stewart, 31, is to start at 9 a.m. in Grady County District Court in Chickasha under a state law that allows murder charges when a defendant's accomplice is killed during the commission of a felony.

Stewart has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege that on New Year's Eve 2011, Stewart and Justin Martin broke into the home of Sarah McKinley, an 18-year-old new mother whose husband had died of lung cancer six days earlier, on Christmas Day.

Authorities have said the two men were seeking to steal painkillers, which they believed was being kept by McKinley's late husband.

In a recording of a 911 call McKinley made during the break-in, she asks a dispatcher for permission to shoot the intruder trying to get into her Blanchard home. Her 3-month-old son was with her at the time.

"I've got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?" McKinley asked the dispatcher.

"Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself," the dispatcher is heard telling McKinley. "I can't tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby."

McKinley shot Martin, killing him, and authorities say Stewart ran away after hearing the gunshots.

She has not been charged.

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