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TULSA County grand jury gets underway

Updated:
Grand jury selection is underway in Tulsa County. The 12-person grand jury will investigate the death of a 10-year-old Jenks girl found dead in her bathtub in 1998.

As KOTV's Tami Marler explains, it's a case Tulsa prosecutors turned down; but Rachel Clayton's grandmother wouldn't let go. Clark Brewster, Defense Attorney: "Cheryl has been the subject of the grand jury itself; so the grand jury petition itself, so she's the target of it. It's not just a grand jury looking into the investigation of what caused Rachel Clayton to die, but it's targeted toward her - which is fairly unusual."

Clark Brewster represents Cheryl Doss, the target of a grand jury probe prompted about three years after she found her 10-year-old daughter Rachel Clayton dead in the bathtub. The death was ruled a drowning. No charges were ever filed. Bill LaFortune: "Our Oklahoma Constitution gives any citizen the right to have a grand jury convened. If they can get 5,000 signatures. And that's quite a task."

Former prosecutors Bill Lafortune and Mark Collier helped Clayton's paternal grandmother, Madge Colbert to draw up a petition, and gather more than 6,000 signatures from people who wanted her former daughter-in-law investigated. Clark Brewster: "I think this is a situation where a grandmother has a misunderstanding of what happened to her grand daughter, has drawn certain conclusions and has whipped up support for an investigation that's targeted toward a former wife of her son and it is certainly in my opinion a very targeted - if you want to use the term witch hunt, it might be the appropriate term." Still, Brewster says he and his client support a grand jury probe into the circumstances surrounding Clayton's death. "We'll sleep a lot better - particularly Ms. Colbert - knowing that she's had this constitutional right a grand jury. It's been exercised by her, the grand jury gave her a fair hearing, and has decided whichever way they go - she'll be pleased with that."

Both sides are just hoping, once the 12-member jury goes behind closed doors, they consider the evidence and the law. The 12-member panel could consider a number of county cases, from political corruption to murder.
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