The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Kathryn Rutan-Pollard.

Released Friday, Justice Gary Lumpkin’s opinion affirming the judgment comes almost 18 months after a Woods County jury first found Rutan-Pollard guilty of murdering her six-year-old son Logan Tucker. She was sentenced to life without parole.

The opinion reviews evidence submitted as part of a two-week trial back in August 2007, including evidence that suggests that Rutan-Pollard killed Tucker on June 23, 2002.

The opinion notes, “Appellant and her two young sons, 6 year old Logan Tucker and 4 year old J.D., shared a home with Melody Lennington in Woodward, Oklahoma. At approximately 3:00 a.m., Sunday, June 23, 2002, Ms. Lennington was awakened by a scream. She recognized the voice as that of Logan. Thinking he was having another nightmare, she went back to sleep. . . . . The scream was the last anyone heard from Logan Tucker.”

In addition to reviewing all the evidence against Rutan-Pollard, Lumpkin’s opinion also denies various “assignment(s) of errors” made by Rutan-Pollard in her quest for a reversal in the case.

Among other claims, Rutan-Pollard argued that “the State failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove she used unreasonable force which resulted in the death of Logan Tucker.”

However, after a review of the evidence, Lumpkin noted that “from the record before us, we do not know exactly what happened to Logan Tucker that early Sunday morning. ... However, we do know that Appellant was his primary care giver and the last adult to ever see him alive. We do know that at some point in time she put tape over his mouth and eyes and thereafter he neither moved nor made any sounds. We do know that she drove the lifeless little boy around in an apparent attempt to dispose of him. Based upon this evidence, the jury could logically infer that Appellant maliciously used force on Logan beyond that ordinarily used as a means of discipline and that such unreasonable force caused his death.”

A full copy of Lumpkin’s opinion can be found at http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=454320.

The opinion was unanimously approved by all five justices of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

“I had every confidence the conviction would be affirmed,” said Chris L. Ross, who served as a special prosecutor in the 2007 trial.

“She (Rutan-Pollard) is exactly where she deserves to be,” Ross said, noting that Rutan-Pollard “will deservedly draw her last breath on this earth staring at the ceiling of a prison cell.”

“We’re very pleased to have gotten this decision,” Woodward County Assistant District Attorney A. J. Laubhan said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with it.”

“And we’re ecstatic to get it this fast,” Laubhan said, noting that it only took the Court of Criminal Appeals four months to make the decision after finally receiving all the appeal briefs last October.

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