A career criminal who was let out of jail in December just before he was admitted to the hospital for a lengthy stay has been arrested in connection with three metro-area bank robberies.
Christy Demelvin Webb was taken into custody Wednesday at a motel in Shawnee after authorities received a tip he was there, said Rick Rains, an FBI spokesman.
Webb, 44, is accused of robbing two Bank of Oklahoma branches May 16 and May 17 in south Oklahoma City.
On May 20, the same day a tornado ripped through Moore and killed 24 people, an OU Federal Credit Union on Lindsey Street in Norman was robbed, and Webb is the suspect.
According to court records, Webb robbed at least one of the banks by slipping the teller a note. He only has been charged with one bank robbery, but Rains said he soon will be charged with the other two.
Webb has a criminal history dating to the 1980s, including convictions for escape from a penitentiary, stealing cars and various thefts.
At the time of his release from the Oklahoma County jail in December, he was accused of robbing a Dollar General store while wearing a wig and fake mustache.
Webb involved in suit
According to a lawsuit filed by OU Medical Center, Webb is one of dozens of inmates released from the Oklahoma County jail just before they were admitted to the Oklahoma City hospital.
The hospital is suing Sheriff John Whetsel, accusing the county's top lawman of dumping the inmates to avoid paying medical bills.
From March 2011 to February, the lawsuit alleges, the hospital treated 37 inmates from the Oklahoma County jail.
The hospital claims those medical bills totaled $976,487.
Court records reveal the sheriff's office has paid only $52,402 of that total.
“The sheriff and county have either refused to pay for the care provided to a particular patient or unilaterally decided to pay some amount less than what was due and owing,” the hospital's attorneys wrote in the petition, which was filed April 5 in Oklahoma County District Court.
An Oklahoma County district judge allowed Webb to be released on his own recognizance, a “Medical OR,” even though Webb was not in court and could not sign his name.
“The county and the sheriff have developed a practice of ... purporting to ‘release' inmates from custody before, and even after transporting them to the hospital, and then deny liability for the necessary medical care by saying the inmate is no longer in the county's custody,” the attorneys wrote in a petition filed in April.
“This practice ... is a blatant effort by the county and the sheriff to absolve themselves of their statutory and constitutional duty to provide medical care to inmates.”
The hospital's attorneys claim the sheriff has been issuing “Medical OR” releases for some time and likely will continue to do so unless a judge forces them to stop.
The case is pending in district court.
Suspect's bill largest
Using records filed along with the lawsuit, it was learned that Webb's medical bill totaled more than $500,000 — the most of any other inmate.
Court records state Webb was treated for “intracerebral hemorrhage” and that he stayed at the hospital about a month.
Mark Myers, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, confirmed that Webb was released Dec. 10 but denied that Whetsel was dumping the inmate to avoid pay the six-digit medical bill.
Myers said Webb was booked into the county jail Nov. 8 with a “pre-existing medical condition ... that did not present a need for medical attention until later while in our custody.”
Myers said Webb was taken first to St. Anthony Hospital and apparently was later moved to OU Medical Center.
“The jail was not involved in any decision to relocate Webb to any other medical facility,” he said. “The release was issued by an Oklahoma County district judge so that he could be treated for his medical issues at a hospital.
Myers also pointed out the sheriff “does not have the authority to order or issue any OR bond releases.”
“All releases from jail, including OR bond releases, must be ordered by a judge,” he said.
Myers would not say what Webb's medical condition is, citing federal privacy laws.
The lawsuit filed in April by OU Medical Center is not the first time the hospital has sued the sheriff.
The hospital took Whetsel to court two other times after Whetsel refused to pay medical bills of inmates in the county's custody.
The previous suits, filed in 2005 and 2010, were settled after Oklahoma County officials agreed to pay more than $8 million to OU Medical Center.
Neither Myers nor Whetsel could be reached to comment on Webb's latest arrest.