Judge to consider case of man convicted of killing Catoosa police chief

Friday, December 17th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) -- A Rogers County judge will decide next month whether to let stand, reverse or order a new trial for a man accused of killing Catoosa Police Chief J.B. Hamby. A jury convicted David Gordon Smith in 1979 of killing Hamby while Smith and Jackie Ray Young were robbing the Catoosa Tag Agency on Sept. 1, 1978.

Wounded, Smith fled but was apprehended several hours later. Young died at the scene. Smith escaped from prison in 1985 and was returned to Oklahoma after being recaptured in South Dakota in 1993. Oklahoma City attorney Douglas Parr claims Smith did not receive a fair trial because the prosecution suppressed evidence favorable to his client and because false testimony was given.

Prosecutor Ray Hasselman said despite defense attorneys' complaints now about lack of discovery from the prosecution, the issue wasn't raised on direct appeal. As a result, he said, Smith should have no claim to post-conviction relief.

District Judge James Sontag said Thursday he would review the arguments and render his decision during the first week of January. Parr said Smith has maintained his innocence from the beginning. Smith has said Young forced him at gunpoint to participate in the robbery. Parr claimed that the prosecution withheld statements and documents that corroborated Smith's testimony and would have allowed defense attorneys to refute testimony of the state's key witnesses. Hasselman argued that the items Parr cites would not have affected the outcome of the trial.