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Murder counts dropped, 100 Adair County civil cases dismissed


STILWELL, Okla. (AP) _ Murder charges against a man accused of killing two brothers were dropped and more than 100 civil cases were dismissed in Adair County Tuesday.

Prosecutors dismissed two murder counts against an Adair County man charged in the slayings of two brothers two years ago.

During a ``house cleaning'' at the Adair County Courthouse more than 100 civil cases, many languishing for years, were also dismissed.

Adair County Assistant District Attorney Monte Strout said two counts of first-degree murder against Joel Crittenden were dismissed because there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute the case.

Crittenden was charged March 14, 2001, after he allegedly shot and killed Jamie Dale White, 27, and Jason Dewayne White, 23, both of Westville, authorities said.

Officials said the brothers' bodies were found in their rural Westville.

During a 2001 preliminary hearing, an Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agent testified that multiple shots had been fired through the bedroom wall of the brothers' home.

Crittenden, who has been held without bail since his arrest, still faces a parole violation for nonpayment of court fines totaling $5,496 in connection with an earlier conviction in a kidnapping case, authorities said.

Prosecutors will be able to refile the charges.

Meanwhile, District Judge John Garrett dismissed more than 100 civil cases Tuesday because no action had been taken on them during the last year.

Garrett also ordered that every outstanding civil and felony case, some dating to 1990, to be placed on the disposition docket for action. More than 450 cases are pending, a court official said.

This is the second time Garrett has ordered the docket brought up to date. In 2001, when it was discovered that 203 felony cases dating to 1985 were pending, Garrett issued an administrative order to combat the problem.

This year, faced with nearly 200 outstanding felony cases, District Attorney Richard Gray has rescheduled many cases because at least 100 had not made it to the preliminary hearing stage, officials said.

Gray was sworn in last month as district attorney for Adair, Wagoner, Sequoyah and Cherokee counties. He replaced eight-year District Attorney Dianne Barker Harrold.

``This was a much-needed house-cleaning, and it was time to do it,'' Strout said. ``I'm glad the judge did it. I can't say we we're shocked by it.''
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