Judge Denies Release For Two Tulsa Police Officers Indicted In Corruption Probe

Monday, February 7th 2011, 4:25 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A federal judge ruled Monday afternoon he will not release two Tulsa police officers who have been in jail the past seven months.

Bill Yelton and Jeff Henderson have been indicted on a number of corruption charges. Prosecutors say these two men are a danger to witnesses in the case.

The officers deny that.

The prevailing theory among police officers is that the U.S attorney, Jane Duke, is keeping Yelton and Henderson locked up in order to break them, to get them to plead guilty, since the case against them is weak.

8/9/2010 Related Story: Attorneys For Two Indicted Tulsa Police Officers Accuse Federal Prosecutor Of Misconduct

But, prosecutors say the reason is because the two pulled guns on or threatened key witnesses.

Former ATF agent Brandon McFadden has already admitted he's a dirty, drug dealing cop and pled guilty. He's testifying against others and will serve a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, and could serve up to 40 years, in federal prison.

McFadden testified Monday that Henderson and Yelton threatened him three times to keep his mouth shut, including once where Yelton pulled a gun and racked a round into its chamber.

Henderson testified that never happened and couldn't have happened the way McFadden claims because officers keep a round already loaded in the chamber and because Yelton is left-handed.

Henderson denied he or Yelton ever threatened any witnesses in the case. Their lawyers tried to show many of the witnesses against the two officers are criminals trying to save their own skins who have a history of lying.

A former Tulsa County drug prosecutor testified he refused to let one of the witnesses in this case work as an informant in his cases, because the man had lied about who shot him.

Prosecutors pointed out that same witness was used as a reliable informant in a Muskogee case.

A Tulsa detective testified another witness in this case, Fred Shields, admitted in a letter that he lied about Yelton being dirty and in addition to already getting his drug case thrown out, he planned to make at least a million dollars by suing the city.

The same detective said another jail inmate told him yet another witnesses against the officers admitted he lied about Yelton being dirty and now wanted to testify for Yelton.

Yelton and Henderson's attorney seem to be showing federal prosecutors are building their case on the word of criminals.

Prosecutors say there are numerous people who say the officers stole drugs or money from them, coached witnesses to lie and many other crimes.

A total of eight officers and one agent have been indicted in the police corruption case.  All but Yelton and Henderson are out on bond while waiting for their trials.

Yelton and Henderson's trial is set for June.  Both officers are on leave without pay.

At least two dozen people have had their cases dismissed or sentences reduced because of the corruption investigation.