Second Tulsa Police Corruption Trial Set To Begin

Monday, June 13th 2011, 5:52 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Two of the three Tulsa police officers on trial last week were found not guilty.

6/10/2011 Related Story: Two Of The Three Accused Tulsa Officers Acquitted

Two more officers go on trial next month.  Bill Yelton and Jeff Henderson go on trial July 25th. This case will be different from the last trial in three major ways.

  • Yelton and Henderson have been in jail this whole time, the other three were out on bond.
  • Yelton and Henderson are accused of crimes like lying, witness tampering and civil rights violations.
  • There's no FBI sting or undercover videotape, this case is built on circumstantial evidence, largely the testimony of confidential informants.

Bill Yelton is a 22 year veteran of the police department and for much of that time was on the Special Operations team and taught SWAT tactics on a national level. He was voted Officer of the Year and received other commendations for his work.

The seven charges he faces stem from his time in the Tulsa police department's narcotics unit. He's accused of lying on the witness stand, getting a confidential informant to lie and depriving people of their civil rights by doing illegal searches.

Jeff Henderson came on the department in 1995. He also worked the narcotics squad and has been charged with 58 counts that cover the years 2004 through 2009.

Nearly half those counts involve lying on the stand and are statements given during one trip to the witness stand in one case. Henderson is also accused of illegally seizing drugs or money along with Brandon McFadden, a former ATF agent who has already admitted stealing drugs and selling them.

McFadden is expected to testify against Henderson and Yelton at trial. The U.S. Attorney claims Yelton and Henderson interfered with around a dozen cases. Some of the people convicted in those cases, have since been released from prison.

Attorneys for the two men say they had an army of confidential informants that allowed them to tackle the city's drug and crime problem and now, those informants have turned against the officers. They say many of the prosecution's witnesses are under investigation for their own crimes.

 Defense attorneys asked for the entire case to be thrown out, based on misconduct by the prosecution, but, the judge refused. They also asked for the two men to be tried separately, but, the judge ruled they will be tried together.

The two officers were charged in a separate indictment from the three who were on trial last week, that's why they didn't all stand trial together.