Justice denied. Relatives of murder victims are outraged as Tulsa County prosecutors drop charges in case after case. It's happened four times in just the past couple of weeks.
Prosecutors say the reason is because the witnesses change their stories or refuse to talk at all. News on Six reporter Steve Berg looked at one of the murders that will now not make it to court. 22-year-old someone shot Di'Andre Blackwell outside a Tulsa bar on October 21st. Tulsa Police say a lot of people were standing around when it happened. But those witnesses refuse to cooperate.
Blackwell's family has been on an emotional roller coaster over the past few months. Initially, some witnesses "did" come forward and charges were filed against a suspect. But now the witnesses have backed out and can't be found. It's the same kind of story with other recent cases.
Blackwell's family says it sends a dangerous message to criminals. Ruby Russell, murder victim's aunt: "Their mindset is, 'it's okay to take a life', if I feel like carrying a gun and shooting somebody, that's okay, and you know what the police isn't going to do anything about it. And I can get to witnesses and make them change their minds, make them change their testimonies."
Blackwell's family is upset with police and prosecutors, saying they should do more. They can issue subpoenas and "force" a witness to take the stand, but they will tell you, if the witness is uncooperative or changes his story, then it does more harm than good.
Blackwell's family feels there has to be some way to protect witnesses so theyâ€™re willing to testify.