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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Judge Denies Request to Release Jailed Officers

Judge denies request to release jailed Tulsa officers
The Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - February 7, 2011

Grand jury investigates police corruption: Read all of the stories, view a timeline and read key documents. A federal judge has denied a request by two suspended Tulsa police officers to release them from jail while they await trial on numerous counts in a police corruption case. U.S. District Judge Bruce Black of New Mexico denied the request to release officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton following a hearing today. Former federal agent Brandon McFadden testified during the hearing about threats that Henderson and Yelton had made against him. McFadden is a key witness in the case. Henderson and Yelton have been jailed since July 20, the day five Tulsa police officers were indicted on alleged civil rights violations, perjury and other various crimes. The other officers have been released on bond. McFadden testified that Henderson and Yelton allegedly threatened him on three different occasions, with the first incident allegedly occurring during the fall of 2007. During one alleged incident in the summer of 2008, McFadden said Henderson and Yelton threatened him at a waste water treatment plant in Tulsa. During the alleged incident, while the three were sitting in Henderson’s car with McFadden in the back seat, Yelton removed his gun from the holster and racked the slide. The gun ejected what appeared to be a bullet, which hit against a window or another part of the interior of the car, he said. Yelton allegedly said, “Get back to Lubbock and keep your mouth shut,” McFadden testified. McFadden testified about another incident in which he said Yelton showed him the state Department of Corrections mugshot of a former Tulsa police officer convicted in a crossbow killing. In that case, former officer Jimmie Dean Stohler was convicted in the 1982 contract killing death of Michelle Powers. Under cross examination by defense attorney Stephen Jones, McFadden said he told no one of the alleged threats by Henderson and Yelton. McFadden said he had not seen Yelton pull his gun out at the waste water treatment plant. Yet, he reaffirmed he heard what he believed to be a gun and a round of ammunition being ejected. Questioned by U.S. Assistant Attorney Pat Harris, McFadden said he told no one about the alleged threats because to do so would implicate him. McFadden said he, Henderson and Yelton were involved in stealing money and falsifying search warrants, and he had witnessed Henderson and Yelton allegedly beating and assaulting drug defendants. “I took the threats seriously from them,” McFadden said. “These guys are pretty smart. They don’t mess around.” Henderson took the stand in his own defense and denied ever threatening McFadden and said Yelton also did not threaten him.

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