An alleged escaped prisoner wanted for 25 years finally made an initial appearance in court Friday, but law enforcement officers didn't find him on the loose he was back behind bars.
Just from listening to 60-year-old Danny A. Witten speak with the other defendants before the morning court proceedings, it's obvious he's spent some time in prison. As their exchange perked up with snide undertones, he asked another orange-suited man if he was "trying to bow up" on him. The white-haired inmate assured the other man, at least half his age, he could take him with no problems.
In fact, Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show Witten has been incarcerated since 1984 on two second-degree burglary counts.
In Comanche County, a warrant for his arrest was issued shortly after his break away from a Lawton treatment facility on Halloween night 1987 on one count of escape from Department of Corrections custody.
While records divisions are required to keep certain types of files for a defined period, and murder case files are kept forever, Witten's case file has been shredded due to its age. However, a copy of the initial information, signed by all former district attorneys and assistant district attorneys, was presented at the initial appearance Friday.
The document stated Witten was serving a 20-year sentence for the burglaries. He was confined to the Lawton Community Treatment Center, which was a Department of Corrections facility located at 605 SW Combs, at the time of the alleged escape.