Murder Case Dismissed Against Tulsa Man Accused Of 2017 Killing

Monday, October 1st 2018, 3:58 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The trial of a Tulsa man charged with murder has been dismissed.

Prosecutors say the case was dismissed after they were made aware of additional information that must be investigated before prosecution can proceed.

William Bridges was arrested last year, accused of the February 2017 killing of Christopher Coffelt.

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Prosecutors and the defense say the case was dismissed after they were made aware of new information.

Bridges’ attorneys claim the lead detective in the case withheld evidence.

“Mr. Bridges has served over a year in jail awaiting trial,” said attorney Shannon McMurray.  “He has an eight-month-old child that he has yet to see until today and justice has absolutely been served.”

Bridges was arrested in 2017, suspected of killing Christopher Coffelt.

Police said Bridges called 911 the morning of February 15 and told the dispatcher that he had shot his friend, Coffelt, five times when he thought Coffelt pulled a knife on him.

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Assistant District Attorney Julie Doss says the prosecution just learned of new information that had never been received by their office.

Doss released a statement, saying, in part, “murder charges were dismissed against William Bridges in the interest of justice pending further investigation.  We are not in a position to continue prosecution of this case until additional investigation has been completed.  We must ensure that all prosecutions are based on both sides having all the information available.”

McMurray claims that now-retired Tulsa Police Detective Diane Baumann withheld and falsified evidence.

“Since February 16 of 2017, kept in her master file, booked and never turned over to the prosecution, which was in turn never turned over to the defense,” said McMurray.

Prosecutors say they have given the case back to the police department for further investigation.  They also say, after the investigation, the murder charge could be refiled.

However, McMurray says Bridges has nothing to worry about.

“We have been turning over every stone to try to come to the truth, which we all knew was there,” McMurray said.  “We just had to get to the bottom of it.”