Lawyer For Former Indicted TPD Officer Calls Crime Ring Connection 'Ludicrous'

Friday, September 24th 2010, 6:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The lawyer for a former police officer says he can't stay silent anymore.

He says the Tulsa Police Department is lying about his client and they may sue over statements made in court that he says are defamatory. His client is JJ Gray, who was indicted as part of the corrupt cop investigation.

Gray pled guilty to stealing money and will be sentenced in October. During a court hearing Thursday, a deputy chief testified the TPD learned Gray might've been involved in a multi-state burglary ring that's been connected to homicides.

9/23/2010 Related Story: Deputy Chief Testifies In Tulsa Police Corruption Case

Gray says it's not true and is speaking out through his attorney. Gray could testify against the other officers who have been indicted and his attorney says the police department is trying to damage Gray's credibility as a witness.

The department says it learned the information and tried to tell the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the corruption case that one of her star witnesses was connected to a crime ring, but that she didn't want to hear it. That testimony came during a hearing where attorneys for another indicted officer accused the prosecutor of threatening officers who had information that made her witnesses look bad.

Gray retired earlier this summer after 20 years on the force around the time he pleaded guilty to theft.  When he was a burglary detective, News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright did several stories with Gray about Jerry Clyde Stephenson, who was suspected in many big burglaries, including a Best Buy, Incredible Pizza, Letney Jewelry Store and bank heists.

Deputy Chief Mark McCrory says the department learned from a jail inmate that Gray was involved with Jerry Clyde Stephenson's group.

"To link him in this defamatory way to these acts, he put Stephenson in prison," said Skip Durbin, Gray's attorney.

McCrory testified Stephenson is now talking to police about Gray's role in the crime ring, a ring that includes Alonzo Johnson, who is currently charged in the murder of Tulsan Neal Sweeney and the murder of an Osage County man.

Gray's attorney says connecting Gray to this group is ludicrous.

"They're trying to tie him into the Neal Sweeney murder for crying out loud, give me a break, no!" Durbin said.

Gray could testify against other officers charged in the corruption case and McCrory says when they brought this information to prosecutor Jane Duke, she wasn't interested in pursuing it.

Gray's attorney says there was nothing to pursue and he has a theory about why the police department is now making these claims.

"Why would they do this if they're not trying to help Jeff Henderson and the other TPD officers who are charged, but not convicted of criminal conduct, that's the only thing we could come up with," he said.

A total of six officers and one former ATF have been indicted in the corrupt cop case. Gray and the agent Brandon McFadden are the only ones who've pled guilty.

7/20/2010 Related Story: Five Tulsa Police Officers Indicted In Corruption Probe

The corruption investigation has led to 19 people either being released from prison or had their charges dropped.