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Judge Postpones Trial After Evidence Overlooked In Fairmont Terrace Murders

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James and Cedric Poore mug shots. James and Cedric Poore mug shots.
Four women were killed in January, 2013. Four women were killed in January, 2013.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A judge on Friday postponed the trial for a quadruple-murder suspect after learning of overlooked evidence. Now both suspects in the deaths of four women may be tried in February 2016.

James Poore and his brother, Cedric Dwayne Poore, both are charged with first-degree murder for the 2013 murders of four women at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments. It was the first quadruple killing in Tulsa since 1992.

Tulsa County District Attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, told Judge Kurt Glassco a Tulsa police detective overlooked evidence in the Fairmont Terrace murders in 2013.

In the hearing Friday, Kunzweiler said he had no knowledge of the items until Thursday, October 15, 2015. DAs are required to give pertinent evidence to defense attorneys.

A defense attorney said if Kunzweiler hadn't gone after the evidence the court never would have known anything was missing. 

Kunzweiler said he doesn't believe the detective withheld the evidence out of any malicious intent, but believes it was overlooked by mistake; the defense, however, said it was withheld.

The evidence that's missing fits in four three-ring binders and 16 CDs. The judge called them "substantial in volume and significant in character."

Whatever the intent, Glassco said the overlooked evidence would cause problems for many and had no choice but to postpone the jury trial that was to begin Monday for James Poore. Cedric Poore's trial is set for February.

The judge has already issued material witness arrest warrants and has had witnesses picked up from correctional institutions for the trial that is now postponed.

5/19/2014 Related Story: Trial Dates Set In 2013 Killings Of Four Tulsa Women

"This is disrupting the lives of so many people," he said, "Victims' families, citizens being subpoenaed."

Friday, Defense Attorney Wes Johnson also learned of the missing evidence.

"8:33 this morning, when I was in the middle of taking a shower, Steve called me up. So, he said, 'Hey, we've got a problem.' And he's got a problem," Johnson said. "Huge problem. It's like the asteroid that struck the earth 65 million years ago and killed all the dinosaurs."

Tulsa Police Sergeant Dave Walker said his detective, Kevin Hill, overlooked the evidence.

“A lot of that information, and rightfully so, should have been turned over to the defense. We're not going to argue that. Why it didn't? We could argue that," he said.

Walker said the binders and CDs have been on a shelf in the property room, and pertain only to the early suspects in the case.

"Well, I don't want to say we didn't find it important. Obviously we see the importance now," Walker said.

But James and Cedric's defense attorneys argue that jail call records, part of the missing evidence, could point to other suspects.

Johnson filed a motion to strike the jury trial - almost three years in the making - and the judge agreed, reluctantly.

Kunzweiler had called the victims' loved ones.

"They want it to be done right. The worst thing that can happen is that you try a case and then, five years later, you're calling somebody up and saying, 'Hey, we have a problem,'" he said.

Cedric's trial has been set for February, and the judge said he might try the two brothers together to be efficient.

"It may very well be that I try both of them on February 1st," Glassco said. "May be hard on the court, but it will get the case done."

The DA said he will look into police practices for handing over evidence.

On January 7, 2013, twin sisters Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Powell-Melchor, 23; Misty Nunley, 33, and Julie Jackson, 55, were found shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs inside an apartment, police say. A 3-year-old boy was also found inside the apartment, unharmed.

According to arrest reports, witnesses told investigators that the brothers left an apartment in the same building, saying they were going to pull a "lick" at the victims' apartment.

Witnesses told police the brothers returned about 20 minutes later with a bag full of drugs, cash and jewelry. According to the report, James Poore told the witnesses that he shot one of the victims because she could identify him, and Cedric shot the other three.

The witnesses told investigators the brothers split the money and that Cedric Poore took the jewelry to pawn.

Department of Corrections records show both men have been previously convicted and incarcerated for robbery with a firearm.

The high-profile case hasn’t been without its twists and turns even before Friday's revelation. During their preliminary hearing in July 2013, Eric Poore, another brother, was admonished by the judge after hearing he reportedly was taking cell phone pictures of witnesses to intimidate them as they entered the courthouse.

Cedric Poore's wife and daughter testified in the preliminary hearing that James was the one who admitted killing the women.

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