Tulsa Police Trial: Henderson Guilty On 8 Counts, Yelton Acquitted


Tuesday, August 23rd 2011, 7:45 am
By: News On 6


Lori Fullbright, News On 6 and NewsOn6.com

After 23 hours of deliberations, the jury in the Tulsa police corruption trial found officer Jeff Henderson guilty on eight counts, but acquitted officer Bill Yelton on all counts.

Henderson was found guilty of six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations.

Read the indictments against Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton.

The mixed verdict was met with joy from Yelton's family but tears from Henderson's

Jeff Henderson's wife didn't want her tears on display for the public, so she left the courthouse with her face covered.

Although Henderson was found not guilty on the 44 more serious charges of drug dealing and threatening witnesses, the eight guilty verdicts mean the mean federal prison time.

"Obviously, he's disappointed, but he's happy the jury believed him with respect to all the other charges," said Bob Wyatt, Henderson's Attorney.

Yelton's family left the courthouse with more upbeat hearts. Yelton's attorney says he's glad the jury recognized the truth about Officer Yelton.

"The acquittal says what we've been saying all along. Bill Yelton did none of these things and he is a top cop in this country and he looks forward to protecting you, the citizens of Tulsa, again," said Scott Graham, who is Yelton's attorney.

Prosecutor Jane Duke focused more on the convictions and says the verdict should speak loudly to all officers that the integrity of the judicial process must be protected.

"We are here to uphold all the laws regardless of whether we like them, they make our jobs more convenient or difficult and enforce the laws fairly," U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said.

The maximum sentence on the perjury counts is five years in prison. The max for the two misdemeanor counts is one year.

The U.S. Attorney says she'll ask the judge to take into account the fact that Henderson abused his position of trust.

Henderson's attorney says they will appeal.

8/22/2011 Related Story: Jury Deliberations To Resume Tuesday In Tulsa Police Corruption Trial

The Tulsa Police Department issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

The Tulsa Police Department fully supports the decision of the jury in this case. It is with deep regret, that we see the actions of a few have damaged the image and reputation of the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department. These courageous officers remain committed, on a daily basis, to serve and protect the citizens of Tulsa.

From the onset, all levels of the department have cooperated with the investigation, identified any weaknesses in policy and procedures, taken action to correct deficiencies, and strengthened operations to reduce the possibility of any future misconduct. 

The Tulsa Police Department remains committed to equal justice for all citizens, including its own officers. Indeed, with the implementation of a zero tolerance policy, we demand that our officers hold themselves to an even higher standard.

At this time, the Internal Affairs Division will begin an investigation to determine whether any officer involved violated department policies and procedures.