Tulsa man due trial after child found locked in cage, another naked outside in cold
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 4:22 AM
A Tulsa County judge who heard testimony about one child who was naked in the cold and another who was locked in a cage ordered the children's father to face trial on a charge of child neglect.
At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, William Todd Lewallen was bound over on a charge alleging that he failed to provide a safe environment for his three children, two 3-year-olds and a 1-year-old, on Nov. 11 at a residence in the 4900 block of North Frankfort Place.
Special Judge David Youll made no decision regarding whether Erin Lewallen - the wife of the co-defendant and the mother of the children - should also be bound over for trial on a neglect charge.
Erin Lewallen went to work that morning, and the children were left with their father, evidence indicated.
One allegation by prosecutors is that Erin Lewallen reasonably should have known that leaving the children in their father's care would put the children at risk, based on her knowledge of his criminal history.
Youll delayed any conclusion of the hearing until Jan. 30 to give attorneys a chance to provide him with case law related to that issue.
Defense attorney Ed Lindsey, representing Erin Lewallen, contends that the charge against her should be dismissed because there is no evidence that she acted willfully or maliciously toward the children.
A neighbor found one of the children naked and crying outside in roughly 40- degree weather.
Police officers who responded found a girl locked in a metal dog cage in a back room of a dirty house that was cluttered with dirty diapers, according to police.
When questioned, William Lewallen indicated that he did not know how one of his children got outside naked or how another child became locked in the cage, according to police.
Prosecutors allege that William Lewallen has felony convictions for crimes including burglary, larceny, escape, possession of a stolen vehicle and possessing a precursor ingredient to manufacture a controlled drug.
William Lewallen, 48, remains in the Tulsa Jail. Erin Lewallen, 27, is free on bond.
The children are living with family members, Assistant District Attorney Travis Horton said.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa man must face trial on child-neglect counts
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
William Todd Lewallen: When questioned, he indicated that he did not know how one of his children got outside naked or how another child became locked in the cage, according to police. Still unresolved is whether his wife and the children's mother, Erin Lewallen, should also stand trial on a neglect charge. She went to work that morning and left the children in his care