A Garfield County man with a history of mental illness and a grudge against his high school principal is facing a federal firearms charge after authorities found him with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, court records show.
Justin Wayne Prentice, 32, was seen walking around Drummond High School on Jan. 29 acting “very strange” and telling staff members he was looking for Jerry Ott, the school's former principal, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Prentice said he was “upset with Mr. Ott for kicking him out of school almost 20 years ago,” a federal investigator reported.
Last week, a federal grand jury in Oklahoma indicted Prentice on a charge of being a mentally defective person in possession of a firearm.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“These cases are not all that common,” said Bob Troester, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Oklahoma City. “It's easier for us to identify felons in the database. There is not such a database for those who have mental issues.”
On Dec. 8, 2011, Garfield County District Judge Dennis Hladik ordered Prentice to be admitted to a mental health facility as a mentally ill person, according to the affidavit.
A search of court records found two protective orders filed against Prentice on Dec. 5, 2011.
Both orders were dismissed by a judge.
Deputies caught up with Prentice in Enid, where the pistol and a pocketknife were found inside his pickup.
Prentice, the affidavit states, “was not making any sense,” and “was talking about gun control and government conspiracies.
He told deputies his medication didn't work, adding that smoking marijuana “helps him cope with his issues,” the investigator reported.
“I am fine when I smoke marijuana, but when I get my hands on my gun I don't know, I just start having thoughts, like something clicks in my head,” the investigator reported.
Prentice was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation, records show.