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Defendant in Oklahoma castration case denies cannibalism talk


POTEAU — From the back of the courtroom, the key witness in an illegal surgery case waited his turn Thursday to testify about being castrated on a makeshift plywood table last October in a cabin in the woods.

He didn't have to.

Newlyweds Bob Lee Allen, 53, and Thomas Evans Gates III, 42, waived their preliminary hearing in separate appearances in Le Flore County District Court.

The waivers clear the way for trial in the criminal case that became a national sensation last year because of accusations of cannibalism.

The two men are accused of performing the illegal surgery Oct. 12 at a cabin near Wister in southeast Oklahoma. They came under investigation after the bleeding victim was taken to a hospital in McAlester, a sheriff's deputy reported in an arrest affidavit last year.

The victim told medical personnel that the two men "tried to get him to participate in cannibalism," according to the affidavit.

He later told investigators that "after the surgery was over that Allen said that he was going to consume the parts and laughed and said that he was a cannibal," according to the affidavit.

The victim further stated that Allen "had six more clients on the way to have the same operation" and that Allen "informed him that he had a freezer with body parts and showed him pictures on his phone," according to the affidavit.

Allen denies talking about cannibalism, his attorney told The Oklahoman Thursday. Allen instead claims his accuser was the one who brought up the subject in conversations at the cabin.

"There was never any cannibalism in the case," defense attorney Douglas Schmuck said.

Both men face felony counts of conspiracy to commit unlicensed surgery, practicing medicine without a license and maiming. Allen also faces a felony count of attempted distribution of a psychedelic mushroom.

Prosecutors Thursday dropped some felony counts against the men, including one for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Both men also face misdemeanor counts including one accusing them of keeping the victim's castrated testicles in a freezer at the cabin.

If convicted at trial, they could be sentenced to up to life in prison on the maiming count alone. The case, though, could be resolved by plea deals.

"Negotiations on remaining charges are still open," Schmuck wrote on the waiver form.

"Ninety percent of the time you can work these cases out," the attorney said. "Sometimes you just can't. This may be one of those cases."

The victim volunteered to have the procedure done, according to the affidavit. He flew from Virginia to Dallas and then was driven to the cabin.

The victim had made contact with Allen through a website while searching online about castrations, according to the affidavit. He is 28.

He declined to be interviewed Thursday as he left the courthouse.

Allen and Gates were arrested Oct. 15 after going to the hospital in McAlester to try to visit the victim, Le Flore County Sheriff Rodney Derryberry said last year. They remain in custody. The two were married last September in Texas, records show.

Related Photos


<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Gates " title=" Gates "><figcaption> Gates </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Allen " title=" Allen "><figcaption> Allen </figcaption></figure>
Nolan Clay

Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,... Read more ›