The long-delayed preliminary hearing for two former Lawton police officers charged with killing Quadry Sanders has been delayed again.
The hearing scheduled for this morning in Special District Judge Christine Galbraith’s courtroom will instead be to tackle a defense motion for the judge to disqualify herself from presiding over the preliminary hearing, court records indicate.
On April 14, Gary James, of Oklahoma City, entered the motion on behalf of his clients, Nathan Michael Ronan and Robert Leslie Hinkle. They are accused of killing Sanders, 29, of Lawton, during a Dec. 5, 2021, incident at 1806 NW Lincoln.
Ronan and Hinkle received felony first-degree manslaughter charges on May 6, 2022. The charges followed an investigation by the Lawton Police Department Internal Affairs division and by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The former officers were scheduled for a January preliminary hearing; however, a motion from James that other pending Oklahoma cases involving interpretation and application of Oklahoma statutes are pending appeals through the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and their outcomes could apply to this case. District Judge Grant Sheperd accepted the motion.
James’ motion for Galbraith’s disqualification stems from her serving as a Comanche County Assistant District Attorney at the time the former officers were charged.
The officers’ case gained national attention following the release of the police body camera video that showed the unarmed Sanders shot and killed by two volleys of rounds from the two officers.
According to the State Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, 12 bullet wounds to the upper and lower body killed Sanders.
Ronan and Hinkle were terminated from their positions with the Lawton Police Department on Jan. 7, 2022, following an internal department investigation.
Ronan had been cleared earlier in 2021 for another officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of Zonterious Johnson, 24. He was returned to duty following an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Galbraith presides over Friday’s 9 a.m. hearing. If she declines to recuse from the case, the matter will go before Chief District Judge Scott D. Meaders for a decision.
Ronan and Hinkle remain free on $25,000 bonds.