Retired Tulsa Police Detective Defends Actions In Murder Case
TULSA, Oklahoma - A retired Tulsa police officer says she wants to set the record straight, after being accused of withholding - even altering - evidence in a murder case.
Dianna Baumann says now that the case is over, she wants to tell her side of the story.
Dianna Baumann says when she assigned the murder case of Christopher Coffelt, she was only two months from retiring and taking a job she already had waiting for her in New York.
She says during that time, she was also assigned a case of a woman thrown into a dumpster, so it was an issue of timing, not ethics.
"There was no realistic way to prepare a murder trial in two months," said retired Tulsa Police Detective Dianna Baumann.
Police arrested William Bridges in 2017 for the shooting death of Christopher Coffelt. Bridges pleaded not guilty and said it was self-defense.
Right before his trial, prosecutors had to dismiss the murder charge, because they had just received new information that needed further investigation.
Bridges' attorney said in the fall of 2018, the detective withheld the information on purpose.
"I spent 30 years serving the citizens, fighting for families, justice and victims and for someone to stand up there and throw this stuff out, on something I had no control over at the time, it's very frustrating," Baumann said.
She says she tried to tell the District Attorney's office she didn't have the time before she retired, to get the case ready for trial, but says everyone is short-staffed and sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. But there was no evil intent, the detective said.
"People who know me, know I would never ever withhold any kind of information. I've always maintained my integrity and being conscientious and a hard worker," said Dianna Baumann, retired TPD detective.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office re-filed the murder charges against William Bridges. He had his trial last month, and the jury found him not guilty.