Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The defense began its case Friday in the corruption trial of Tulsa police officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton. The second witness to testify was Officer Yelton.
Yelton was on the stand for most of the day. Of the more than 50 charges, Yelton is charged with eight of them. He said he never did anything illegal and never saw Henderson do anything illegal either.
Bill Yelton told the jury he'd been a Tulsa officer for 26 years and during that time, has been a member of the SWAT team and worked many different assignments, including patrol, homicide and narcotics.
He told them he'd been chosen Officer of the Year twice, including once, nationally. He also said he had received a life-saving award and five Chief's commendations.
He denied coaching an informant on what to say in court, denied threatening former ATF agent Brandon McFadden with a gun, denied ever lying on an affidavit and denied asking a jail inmate to beat up another inmate.
He testified that Rochelle Martin was a very valuable source of information about drug dealing in Tulsa and was a huge help to the community and the police department in getting drugs and guns off the streets and keeping citizens safe.
He said working with informants can be risky because they are often are criminals working to help themselves and can tell the truth when it suits then or lie.
He said the police department could not fight the drug war without them though, because it just doesn't have the resources.
Prosecutors hammered away on cross examination, about whether Yelton made up informants or made up drugs or threatened McFadden not to cooperate with the feds.
Even though most of the testimony in this case has been serious because there is a lot at stake here, there have been some moments of levity.
One happened today when the prosecutor asked Yelton, what is Henderson's nickname, is it Hawk? Yelton said, its Chicken Hawk. The prosecutor asked is that because of his stature? And, Yelton, was like, you want want me to go there?
The defense will call more witnesses on Monday.
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