Judge Denies Betty Shelby's Request For Special Arraignment In Crutcher Death

Thursday, September 29th 2016, 11:58 am
By: News On 6

A judge denied a request for a special arraignment for Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby.

Shelby is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, September 30, 2016, in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. She's charged with 1st-degree manslaughter in the case.

Her attorney filed a motion in Tulsa County District Court on Thursday morning, requesting the arraignment be moved up a day.

Special Coverage: Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

Officer Betty Shelby's arraignment will happen tomorrow as scheduled, despite a defense attorney asking for it to happen a day early.

Shelby is charged in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher September 16. 

Shelby's attorney, Shannon McMurray, said she made the request because of safety concerns.

McMurray said she wasn't trying to run Shelby's arraignment through the system so nobody would notice. 

She said she filed the motion because she's worried about the safety of Shelby, as well as the community, as well as creating chaos in the court system with all the national attention. 

But the district attorney argued, "look, I want Officer Shelby to be treated fairly in this process but also want her treated equally and he didn't feel moving the arraignment up, would accomplish that."

District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said there have been death threats against Shelby. 

McMurray said she's not worried about the local community because everyone has respected the process and been peaceful. She said she's worried about those from outside Tulsa.

"People that are traveling from city to city that I would call professional protesters, that's more what I was concerned about," McMurray said. 

Kunzweiler argued against moving the arraignment and said the process in place should be respected.

He pointed out they were able to handle the high profile cases of reserve deputy Bob Bates and former Tulsa Police Officer Shannon Kepler, both who were also accused of a taking a life.

He said he has empathy for Shelby but doesn't feel she should be treated differently than anyone else.

The judge agreed and said Shelby needs to be treated fairly as does the community -- which has a right to come to court -- and law enforcement needs time to prepare to protect all involved.