The Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - August 31, 2011
Grand jury investigates police corruption: Read all of the stories, view a timeline and read key documents. Citing jury confusion and unfair testimony, an attorney for convicted Tulsa police Officer Jeff Henderson has asked for additional time to file for a new trial for his client. Robert Wyatt IV filed a motion Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, asking for a 30-day extension to file for a new trial or acquittal. Typically, attorneys file for a new trial within 14 days of a conviction, Wyatt’s filing states. Henderson, 38, was found guilty Aug. 24 on two counts of civil rights violations and six counts of perjury. He was acquitted on 45 counts of civil rights violations, drug crimes, witness tampering and suborning perjury. Officer Bill Yelton, 50, his co-defendant, was acquitted on all eight counts against him. The charges included civil rights violations, witness tampering, suborning perjury and retaliation against a government witness. Without the extension, Henderson would be required to file a motion for acquittal or for a new trial by Sept. 7, Wyatt wrote. He asked U.S. District Judge Bruce Black to extend the deadline to Oct. 7. Special prosecutors do not oppose the request for additional time, Wyatt’s motion states. Citing a Tulsa World article, Wyatt noted that one jury expressed confusion over several guilty verdicts related to the case of Ronald Crawford. Crawford was charged in January 2009 with a weapons charge based on a search warrant involving Henderson. Prosecutors presented evidence and testimony showing that Crawford was in Texas during the time when Henderson said he observed him in Tulsa. The juror, who asked to remain anonymous, was interviewed by the World shortly after the verdict was rendered. She stated that she reconsidered her voted on several perjury counts for Henderson after the jury requested clarification from the judge on how motions are to be considered separately or together. However, the voting tally had already been taken on the counts in question, records show. When asked by the judge before the verdict was read in open court, all the jurors said they agreed with the verdict, the World has reported. Wyatt stated that prosecutors presented erroneous or unfair information in regard to cell-tower data and the location of Henderson’s phone on the day that Crawford’s home was under surveillance, Wyatt wrote. An FBI agent testified that Henderson’s cell phone was not in Crawford’s vicinity on the day of the surveillance. Wyatt wrote: “The testimony of the final witness on rebuttal left an unfair impression that Jeff Henderson was not at the residence on South Phoenix on January 5 and 6 when he claimed to be conducting surveillance. It is now believed that based on the limited cell tower data produced by the rebuttal witness that the FBI agent could not state with any degree of certainty that Mr. Henderson was not located” in the 3600 block of South Phoenix Avenue on the dates and times as shown in the phone records.