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Oklahoma Man Confesses To Murder While Playing Slots, Three Bodies Found In Shallow Grave

The brother of one of Robert Lewis' alleged victims alerted authorities after he found a body while searching for his sister on Lewis' property.

By Jax Miller

An Oklahoma man allegedly called authorities and confessed to a triple murder while playing slots at a casino.

Robert Lewis, 61, claimed he wanted to turn himself in when he called police from the Cherokee Casino in Tahlequah, Oklahoma — about 65 miles east of Tulsa — according to Fox 23 News.

The confession came after one of the victim’s brothers reported to authorities in Arkansas last Friday that he found a body on Lewis’s property in the Eldon Hill area outside Tahlequah last Friday; those officials contacted their counterparts in Oklahoma, according to the Muskogee Phoenix.  An affidavit obtained by the Tulsa World stated that the brother and Lewis’s unnamed ex-girlfriend found the body in a hole covered in leaves while searching for his missing sister.

On Saturday, authorities found two additional sets of human remains in a shallow grave on the  property, according to Fox 23. The three victims were identified as Deanna Tippey, 36, Brian Shackleford, 51, and Quinley Lamb, 43.

It was Lamb’s brother who made the first, grisly discovery.

“It’s sad anytime we have to respond to something like this,” Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault told News on 6. “But the way the bodies were disposed of just makes it that much more sad.”

Chennault told Fox 23 that Tippey was Lewis’s girlfriend. It's unclear how he knew Lamb and Shackleford, but Fox 23 reported that authorities said they were there as part of “an apparent drug deal.”

Cherokee County District Attorney Jack Thorp claimed there might be separate motives in the three murders, as Lamb and Shackleford — both from Sharp County —  were killed separately from Tippey.

“Lewis said he killed Lamb and Shackleford on his birthday, which would be Jan. 16,” Chennault told Fox 23. “Tippey was killed later.”

Tippey died sometime between Jan. 16 and Jan. 28, according to News on 6. 

On Monday, the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Tulsa determined that Tippey died by strangulation, Lamb was beaten to death and Shackleford died after being stabbed with an unknown object.

Family members had reported Lamb missing from Sharp County, Arkansas — about 250 miles east of Tahlequah — in recent weeks, according to Fox 23.

Lewis’s ex-girlfriend — who helped Lamb’s brother find the first body — had reportedly called Lewis and asked him about the whereabouts of Lamb, Shackleford and another unnamed man, according to the affidavit. Lewis claimed the three individuals were at his residence, adding, “they are gone and won’t be seen again.”

Sheriff Chennault said they plan on returning to Lewis’s property to search for additional bodies.

“We intend to go out there and check again soon,” Chennault told Fox 23. “Obviously, we have some winter weather coming in that would complicate those efforts. We’re trying to get it done soon.”

On Monday, Lewis was officially charged in Cherokee County District Court with three counts of first-degree murder, according to the Tulsa World.

District Attorney Thorp told reporters that Lewis could face the death penalty if convicted, according to Fox 23.

“I expect that my team of prosecutors and myself will be meeting with family members, and we will be discussing that,” said Thorp. “But I will say it is definitely in the realm of consideration that this murder that occurred here in Cherokee County could possibly warrant the death penalty.”

Lewis is being held without bond and is expected to appear before a judge on March 1.

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