Oklahoma County prosecutor arrested in prostitution sting

Friday, November 12th 2004, 12:09 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Assistant District Attorney Lou Keel, who was a prosecutor in Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols' murder trial, was arrested Thursday in a police prostitution sting, officials said Friday.

Keel was accused of trying to hire a woman for sex. The woman was a police officer posing as an escort.

He was booked on a charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness with a prostitute, said police Capt. Jeffrey Becker. Keel posted a $500 bond and was released.

District Attorney Wes Lane said he has suspended Keel with pay pending a review of the police investigation.

"We recognize the gravity of this allegation and I am deeply disturbed," Lane said. "The Oklahoma County District Attorney's office holds very seriously the public's trust that justice will be served whether it is a citizen or a public official and that obviously includes my prosecutors."

Lane said his office would recuse itself from involvement in prosecuting the case and would notify the Oklahoma Attorney General's office of this, so other prosecutors could be selected for the case.

"A thorough investigation will be conducted of the incident and the results of that investigation will be turned over to another district attorney's office in the state," Lane said. "Over the three years that I have been the district attorney, my office has taken a strong stand against prostitution."

Keel had a high-profile position as one of the prosecutors in the state murder case against Nichols.

A state jury convicted Nichols of 161 counts of first-degree murder last May for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people.

State prosecutors brought the case in hopes of winning a death sentence against Nichols, who was already serving a federal sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the bombing.

The state jury deadlocked in the sentencing phase of the trial, and the judge sentenced him to 161 consecutive life sentences.