Kassen murder trial set for this weekOctober 19, 2019 | Courts
NEWKIRK — A jury trial is set to begin this week for Joel Benjamin Kassen in Kay County District Court.
Kassen, 26, Ponca City, is facing a second degree murder charge and a felony charge of conspiracy in the death of 22-year-old Cody Grantham.
Grantham died in a one-vehicle accident in the 800 block of Kygar Road on Sept. 12, 2015 at 1:42 a.m.
Kassen was set for a jury trail on Jan. 22, but during jury selection, Kassen reportedly spoke to potential jurors during a break, forcing Judge David Bandy to declare a mistrial. Kassen’s bond was revoked and increased to $50,000. Attorney Jarrod Stevenson was granted a request to withdraw from the case.
Ponca City police report Kassen was the passenger in a 2004 Ford F-350 pickup that crashed killing Grantham.
Daltyn Ryan Stout, 22, the driver, entered an Alford Plea on Aug. 18, 2017 to felony counts of manslaughter and conspiracy, and is serving a 20 year prison sentence with 10 years suspended at the R.B. Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominey.
Kassen is accused of purchasing a 30 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a six pack of Apple Ale with Stout’s credit card at Lamp Post Liquor in Ponca City on Sept. 11. An employee of the store told police she carried the alcohol to the truck because Kassen was on crutches and his friend did not have identification.
Grantham’s mother reportedly told police that Kassen stated he and Stout went to Newkirk to drink before picking up Grantham at 12:30 a.m. in Ponca City. Police Sgt. Rob Hughes reports finding four empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans at the scene of the accident.
Kassen was originally charged with second degree murder in the case.
On April 19, 2017 the murder charge against Kassen was dismissed by the court. That decision was appealed by District Attorney Brian Hermanson.
On April 20, 2018, Hermanson won the appeal and the charge was remanded. Jury selection is set for Tuesday morning.