A 47-year-old Marietta woman charged with embezzling more than $5,000 she solicited on Facebook to pay for a murder victim’s funeral appeared in Carter County District Court Wednesday afternoon.
Robin Faulkenberry appeared with her attorney, James Gilmartin, for what was suppose to be a non-jury trial. But Gilmartin announced a change in defense maneuvers. Instead of the scheduled trial, the lawyer said his client would enter a blind guilty plea.
District Judge Morris agreed to accept the plea. But the case took another unexpected turn when Gilmartin tried what Morris called, “… trying to negotiate with the court,” regarding how and when restitution would be made. The judge ordered a recess, calling District Attorney Craig Ladd and Gilmartin into his chambers.
When court resumed, Gilmartin turned over a cashier’s check for the full amount of the “GoFundMe” donations to the district attorney. Faulkenberry had solicited the money claiming donations were sought for the funeral expenses of 20-year-old Stormy Lusk, who was murdered June 5, 2015, in Ardmore.
Ladd said the money will reimburse the state’s Victim’s
Compensation Fund, which paid the funeral costs when it was discovered Faulkenberry had used the money for her own purposes.
“The State of Oklahoma and the taxpayers are being paid back,” Ladd said.
The case was investigated by the Ardmore Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. Det. Matt Dunn led the inquiry. More than 100 people are listed as “witnesses endorsed by the state.”
Faulkenberry continues to face up to 5 years in prison and/or up  $5,000 in fines in connection with her guilty plea. Morris set a sentencing hearing for April 5 and a personal recognizance bond was attached to the blind guilty plea pending the Love County woman’s next court appearance.
But the personal recognizance bond didn’t keep Faulkenberry out of jail. Morris was informed by the court clerk’s office she owed the district court fines and costs associated with a 2015 DUI misdemeanor conviction. The judge ordered her remanded to the Carter County Detention Center where she is to “sit out” the $525 still owed on that conviction at $25 per day.