STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The attorney for former Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton entered a not guilty plea to four felony drug-related charges Tuesday and said his client is in a treatment center.
The attorney, Trace Morgan, explained the reason for Sutton's absence at the arraignment to Payne County Special Judge Michael Stano, who set an April 5 hearing date. Morgan later declined comment to reporters.
Sutton, 41, was arrested Thursday after agents from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said he picked up a shipment of painkillers under another person's name.
Authorities said the package contained about 40 pills, which included the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and two forms of the stimulant Adderall. An affidavit from bureau Agent Brian Surber said Sutton told the agent he had obtained the drugs from people he had met while in an inpatient rehabilitation program.
Prosecutors have charged Sutton with four felonies — obtaining a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) by fraud, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) without a prescription, attempted possession of controlled dangerous substances (clonazepam and Adderall) and use of a communications device to facilitate a felony.
After his arrest, Sutton spent the night in the Stillwater jail before being released on a $10,000 bond. Authorities said he was showing signs of withdrawal and that he told them he needed to "tough it out."
District Attorney Rob Hudson said one condition of the bond is that Sutton undergo inpatient treatment. Hudson said it is too early to discuss whether Sutton would be offered a plea deal, saying he wanted to first receive the report on the case from the OBNDD. He said Sutton has no prior criminal record.
"This is a nonviolent case," Hudson said. "It is anticipated that after we receive the report and have an opportunity to see what the investigation entailed, then we will sit down with defense counsel, as we do in all cases, and discuss ... what would be the proper and just thing to do.
"This is a dark day for our community and for Oklahoma State University and the Sutton family. They obviously are a well-known family. This is just tough on the whole community, but nobody is above the law."
Sutton succeeded his father, Eddie Sutton, as Oklahoma State's coach and went 39-29 in two seasons before resigning under pressure in April 2008. He has not coached since then. Oklahoma State bought out his contract by paying Sutton about $2.2 million.
Eddie Sutton stepped down as the Cowboys' coach in May 2006 following a drunken-driving crash. Eddie Sutton had been treated for alcohol addiction prior to his return to Oklahoma State, his alma mater, and had planned to set up an addiction awareness program at OSU that never materialized.
Scott Sutton, Sean's brother and Eddie's son, is the coach at Oral Roberts in Tulsa. After his team's win over IUPUI on Saturday, Scott Sutton briefly spoke with reporters about his brother's troubles.
"The last few days have been awfully tough for our family, and I can't express to all the people out there how much our family appreciates all the love and support that they've shown us the last couple of days, and all I can ask is that you continue to pray for us and that we've got a pretty tough family," he said. "We're going to get through this."
(This version CORRECTS Sutton's record at OSU.)