Mustang man seeks dismissal of federal charge

Former Watonga police chief faces federal, district court criminal charges

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William Shawn Kays

By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

A Mustang resident and former Watonga police chief has requested a federal court to dismiss criminal charges against him – a request prosecutors have requested the judge deny.

William Shawn Kays, 39, faces a single charge of illegally receiving a firearm while under indictment in a case filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

A federal grand jury indicted Kays on the single count Feb. 1; he faces two counts – one felony first-degree burglary and a second misdemeanor assault and battery charge in Blaine County District Court, records showed.

Federal prosecutors said Kays procured a Glock 45 caliber pistol, shipped over state lines to him, while under indictment in that Blaine County case; it is a violation of federal law to purchase or receive firearms or ammunition while under indictment.

Kays surrendered to law enforcement Feb. 7, said Robert Troester, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Kays moved to dismiss the federal criminal case against him in a March 6 filing, alleging he was not under “indictment” when he received the gun.

“He was not charged by indictment, but by an information filed by the Blaine County District Attorney’s office,” defense attorney David Autry stated in this dismissal motion. “The word (or term of art) “indictment” has a specific meaning… an indictment means one thing and one thing only: a criminal charge brought by a grand jury.

“A grand jury did not indict Mr. Kays in Blaine County; the district attorney filed a piece of paper with the court clerk,” he concluded.

“The term ‘indictment’ includes an indictment or information in any court under which a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year may be prosecuted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters stated in her response to the dismissal motion.

The Blaine County criminal action was filed in July 2021; it was administratively reassigned to Kingfisher County due to Kays’s former position, court personnel said Monday. The next hearing in that case was set as of press time for Feb. 22 before Kingfisher County Associate Judge Lance Schneiter.

Should he be convicted in the federal case, Kays must forfeit to the government any firearms and ammunition in his possession and faces a possible five years in federal prison and up to three years of supervised release, as well as a maximum $250,000 fine.

DEFENSE MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE

In addition to filing the motion seeking to dismiss the federal charge brought against him, Kays also presented a March 7 motion to suppress evidence seized by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jared Lowe during a September search of Kays’ Mustang resident.

That motion gave additional insight into the charge brought against Kays – in addition to finding a gun allegedly purchased by Kays during a gun show, Kays’ attorney stated investigators found several other firearms, a tear gas grenade, “multiple rounds” of ammunition and 193.3 grams of marijuana.

Kays and his attorney alleged the affidavit seeking a search warrant of Kays’ residence “failed to show probable cause that the evidence sought would be found there” and because the warrant “authorized a general search” – although, as prosecutors stated, that evidence was indeed found in the Mustang home.

PROTECTIVE ORDER SHOULD BE EXCLUDED

One of Kays’ former girlfriends in June 2021 filed for a protective order against him in Blaine County District Court, a case that remained pending as of press time. Like the criminal felony case filed in Blaine County against the now Mustang resident, that action has become enmeshed with the federal case filed against the former police chief.

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Kays through attorney Autry on March 7 filed a motion requesting the court exclude any mention of the sought-after protective order – which asserts Kay allegedly distributed “in the community” a photo of him and his then-girlfriend engaged in a sexual act.

“Because the application for the victim’s protective order is irrelevant to the charge in the indictment…any mention of it should be excluded at trial,” Autry stated in that motion.

Chief Judge Timothy DeGiusti, who is presiding over the federal case, had not yet ruled on any of the March motions filed in the matter. The prosecutors on March 16 filed a response to Kays’ requested suppression motion.

FEDERAL CIVIL ACTION FILED AGAINST KAYS, OTHER OFFICERS

Another federal case also remained pending against Kays, several of his former Watonga Police Department employees and others as of press time. The woman who prosecutors said was assaulted and robbed by the former police chief filed a civil action in the Western District of Oklahoma in August 2021.

Both the Blaine County and civil federal case stem from incidents that allegedly occurred in August 2019, court records showed.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to review the matter before Kays’s initial arrest in the state case; a Watonga city official who did not provide her name on Monday confirmed past media reports stating Kays was dismissed June 15, 2021.

According to the alleged victim’s federal complaint, Kays and other officers involved – also reportedly dismissed by the city of Watonga – arrested her for an “unpaid ticket;” a speeding ticket for traveling between 1-10 mph over the limit was the sole case found for the woman, filed in Kingfisher County and resolved except for a balance on court fees and costs being paid by her.

BLAINE COUNTY ACTIONS

The criminal felony case filed against Kays in Blaine County is next set for a May 27 preliminary hearing; the protective order case filed by the former police chief’s ex-girlfriend – and cited in his federal pleadings – is next set for a hearing April 14 in Blaine County District Court, records showed.

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