Coal Co. murder suspect formally charged

By: Stephanie Brletic Email
By: Stephanie Brletic Email

COAL COUNTY, Okla. -- Sonny Albarado, Jr. was formally charged with the murder of Lonnie Allen Matthews in Coal County on Tuesday. As Stephanie Brletic reports, this is not the first time Albarado has been in trouble with the law.

Officials say they believe an argument between Albarado and Lonnie Allen Matthews Thursday night was the motive for Matthews’ murder. They caught up with Albarado in McCurtain County on Saturday night, where he was arrested.

Coal County Sheriff’s Deputies transported Sonny Albarado back to the Coal County Jail late Tuesday afternoon. Assistant district attorney Preston Harbuck says he has charged Albarato with one count of second degree murder.

This is not Albarado's first brush with the law. Investigators say Albarado has spent time in jail, and say he was on probation at the time of the murder for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, second offense.

Coal County Sheriff Roy Deck says the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assure that both sides of this case are treated fairly.

"We call them as a lead investigator. We're there to assist and help in whatever manner we can be involved in, but if it's on a level where we know someone real well and deal with them on a personal level, maybe as personal friends or whatever, it's better that someone outside the department do the interviews and conduct the investigation."

"It's a very unfortunate situation for anyone involved in it, especially for the family of the deceased," Harbuck said.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officials say the cooperation and resources of other departments helped them arrest Albarato quickly.

"There are at least four agencies that's been involved, and everybody worked great together," George McFarland, OSBI, said.

Now, the Coal County District Attorney’s Office says only the court can decide whether Albarado's previous convictions will effect the time he would serve if convicted for Matthews’ murder.

Officials say bond for Albarato is set at $2.5 million.

A preliminary hearing is set for January 31 at 9 a.m.

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