Attorneys ask for public funds for investigator

Thursday, December 23rd 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Attorneys for Wayne Henry Garrison, who is accused of the dismemberment death of a Tulsa boy more than a decade ago, have asked for public funds for an investigator. Garrison, 40, was charged Oct. 22 with first-degree murder. He was arrested as he was released from a prison in North Carolina. He is accused of the death of Justin Wiles, 13.

Parts of Justin's body were found at Bixhoma Lake, four days after authorities said he was seen getting into Garrison's car at an auto body shop in 1989. The request filed by defense attorneys asks for a court-appointed investigator to find prospective witnesses and to follow up on a 1989 lead involving a different man. Attorney Art Fleak said he and two other lawyers, Kurt Hoffman and Todd Cole, are not getting paid to represent the indigent Garrison. They voluntarily took the case because they think Garrison is "wrongly accused," Fleak indicated Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Collier said Tuesday that in his nine years with the District Attorney's Office, he has not seen a similar request granted by a judge here. County court administrator Dave Hill said he has never paid a bill from the local court fund for an investigator to assist a privately retained attorney because "the judges have never grant edit." He has been the administrator for 13 years.

Garrison's attorneys pointed out the lack of addresses or correct addresses for 54 potential prosecution witnesses mentioned in the murder charge. "That's a lot to do, to try and talk to all these people," Fleak said. The attorneys say an investigator's help is necessary to help interview the prosecution witnesses and to find other witnesses to assist the defense.

As a juvenile, Garrison admitted to killing two other children in Tulsa. In North Carolina, he served a sentence for abducting and drugging a 10-year-old neighbor in 1996. District Judge Jesse Harris, the prospective trial judge in the Wiles case, likely will hear the request for a publicly funded investigator.