The News-Record

A Picher man pleaded innocent Wedensday to allegations that he threatened three members of a state trust authority.

Gene Ragsdale, 61, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly pulled a 9 mm Glock handgun on Mark Osborn, vice-chairman, and Mike Sexton, treasurer, of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, as well as J.D. Strong, chief of staff for the state secretary of environment.

Ragsdale said his actions were of a “joking” nature and that he meant no harm to any of the men.

According to court records, Ragsdale approached the men after a trust meeting last week and asked them if they had seen his revolver and then showed it to them.

The men told authorities that Ragsdale then said, “Why don't you three line up for me.”

Ragsdale, who regularly attends the buyout trust meetings, has a reputation for disruptive behavior and is said to frequently express his frustration with the trust committee, according to community members.

The relocation assistance trust oversees a $50 million buyout of Picher, Cardin and Hockerville, all former lead and zinc mining communities that have been deemed at risk of subsidence.

Ragsdale is scheduled to return to court Aug. 20 for a preliminary hearing