Oklahoma Gambler Jailed 17 Years Over Grandson’s Death

  • Judge Scott Palk charged Alanna Jean Orr with second-degree felony murder by child neglect
  • The 50-year-old will serve three years of supervised release at the end of her 210-month jail term
  • She was also ordered to pay $3,877.31 in compensation for her grandson's funeral expenses
  • The five-year-old was in the car for 6+ hours in 90°F heat while Orr gambled at Kickapoo Casino

 

Handcuffed female prisoner in orange jail jumpsuit
An Oklahoma grandmother was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the second-degree murder by child neglect of Maddox Ryan Durbin, aged 5. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Grandmother left child in hot car

An Oklahoma woman has been jailed for 210 months after leaving her five-year-old grandson to die in a hot car in a casino parking lot during the summer of 2018. US District Judge Scott Palk sentenced Alanna Jean Orr, 50, from Oklahoma City and a member of the Kickapoo Tribe, for second-degree felony murder by child neglect.

to pay $3,877.31 in compensation for funeral expenses

Orr was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon discharge from a federal prison, with any violation of parole returning her to jail until 2040. In addition, she was instructed to pay $3,877.31 in compensation for funeral expenses to the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Board.

Judge Palk remanded Orr into custody at a hearing last Thursday to begin serving her 17-year sentence with immediate effect.

Death on tribal lands

The case fell under federal jurisdiction because the death of Orr’s grandson, Maddox Ryan Durbin, also a member of the Kickapoo Tribe, took place on Indian tribal lands. On April 17, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Orr with second-degree felony murder by child neglect in Indian Country. Orr pleaded guilty to the indictment on July 30, 2019.

According to an affidavit in support of a search warrant, signed in the Oklahoma County District Court on July 17, 2018, Orr left her grandson in a car on June 21, 2018 when she went into the Kickapoo Casino in Harrah, Oklahoma. 

grandson remained in the vehicle from approximately 1:23pm to 7:28pm, for over six hours

Orr’s grandson remained in the vehicle from approximately 1:23pm to 7:28pm, for over six hours. Temperatures in Harrah that day climbed to almost 90°F. Around 15 minutes after she left the casino building, Orr rang 911 to report that her grandson had choked and was not breathing. When she arrived at Harrah Police Department, officers who tried to resuscitate the child noticed that he was already in rigor mortis.

Orr was found guilty of “causing the death of her five-year-old grandson by leaving him in a hot car in a casino parking lot on a hot summer afternoon with no air conditioning,” said US Attorney Timothy J. Downing in a news release.

Not an isolated incident

Leaving young children alone in vehicles while going inside a casino to gamble is a common occurrence in the US.

In August 2018, a mother of a three-month-old girl was arrested for leaving her child unattended for 90 minutes while she gambled at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In February 2019, a Calgary man was charged for leaving a seven-year-old boy alone in an unheated car while he played at a casino, with temperatures outdoors dropping to -11°F. Also in 2019, a Florida woman, Michelle Puma, left her baby in a car for almost two hours to gamble on video machines at Treasures of Hope in Umatilla, Florida.

Nationwide advocacy group KidsAndCars.org has found that since 1999, over 300 reports have been received of children left unaccompanied in cars outside casino facilities.