Durant Family Speaks Out After Murder Suspect's Bond Set At $2M - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant Family Speaks Out After Murder Suspect's Bond Set At $2 Million


DURANT, OK -- The family of a man accused of murder in Bryan County says it's not his fault. They say he was defending his home, and that other people also share responsibility for what happened.

The suspect is a young man who has already done state time after being convicted of stolen property crimes, and now, he's facing a charge that could send him to death row.

A judge set bond at $2 million for Raymond Stewart, 26, of Durant, who appeared in court Thursday afternoon and is being held for first-degree murder in the death of Bryan County resident Steven Sessums, 32.

"They're charging my brother with the entire crime saying that he planned it before this happened. My brother's not the one that brought him to his house," says sister Amber Stewart.

Court documents show Stewart allegedly admitted to driving to Old Highway 70 and pushing Sessums out of his pickup truck and over a bridge following a struggle early Saturday morning at a home in the 200 block of East Locust.

The OSBI says the two had met each other at a bar earlier that night. "It's not all his fault and he didn't act alone and he knows that and they know that and I think that everybody that was involved should be brought to justice, not just him," says Jessica Horn, the mother of the suspect's two children.

No one answered the door at Stewart's girlfriend's home where investigators say the fight happened. Stewart's family members tell me they believe it was all self-defense.

"I believe that it's a drug deal that went bad and this dude threatened and freaked out on my son and threatened to do some things, in his house," says dad Lands Jay Stewart.

"He's a human and he did not plan to hurt this man. He protected his household," says Amber Stewart.

Stewart's sister says he fell in with the wrong crowd after being released from prison in November. A tattoo on Stewart's face reads "only God can judge me."

"You're surprised when somebody kills somebody else, you know he was a he was a healthy guy," says victim's neighbor Don Ellis.

Sessums's family told me they're glad a suspect is behind bars. "They were real tore up. The mother's taking it hard, and they don't know much yet," says Ellis.

"I'm truly sorry for anybody who's been hurt by this and I just want you guys to know that my brother is kind," says Amber Stewart.

"This isn't the person that we know the person that we know, he's kind, he's caring, the kids love him, everybody loves him. He's my best friend and he's always going to be my best friend," says Horn.

"He's had a bad life because of what I've done and what his mom 's done and hadn't had a fair chance and this ain't fair neither," says Lands Jay Stewart. "He may have made a mistake on what happened afterwards but that does not make him a murderer."

Sessums's father says he was a good son, and that he had recently been working for him in the carpentry business. His body was found Monday in a creek. Stewart's next court date is on April 23.