Authorities doubt man who confessed to killing

Sunday, October 31st 2004, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Arkansas man who confessed to killing an Oklahoma man nearly nine years ago has been released because authorities doubt his confession, said Jessica Brown, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.

Daryl Threadgill, 39, of Foreman, Ark., was released from the Little River County, Arkansas, jail Thursday the day after he confessed to shooting Jettie McElroy Jr. on Christmas Eve in 1995.

McElroy was shot with a 30-30 rifle while riding in a pickup outside the Hatchett Club, a tavern on State Highway 87 in far southeastern McCurtain County.

Threadgill told law enforcement officers he was trying out the gun before making a decision to buy. When he fired the gun, the bullet hit the highway and bounced off McElroy's pickup, striking him in the neck, he told officers.

Threadgill reportedly made the confession about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday while sitting in sheriff's Lt. Jessie Ricks' patrol car in Foreman. Threadgill was taken to the county jail in Ashdown and remained there until 4:45 p.m. Thursday when he was released. Ricks then drove Threadgill back to his house in Foreman.

``After interviewing Threadgill, the OSBI doesn't believe him,'' Little River County Sheriff Danny Russell said. ``I want to stress to people, we released Threadgill at the request of the OSBI because they refused to file charges or extradite him. We had to turn him loose.''

Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation and a crime scene agent went to the Ashdown jail Thursday to question Threadgill.

``OSBI Agent Cliff Fielding came back Thursday with the complete case file and interviewed Threadgill. The agent said there were inconsistencies with statements Threadgill said Thursday and what he said in 1995,'' the sheriff said.

Threadgill called the Little River County jail Wednesday, asking for Ricks. The deputy went to Foreman and Threadgill came out of his house and sat down in the front seat of the patrol car. Describing his conscience as ``eating at him,'' Threadgill reportedly confessed to the shooting.

``He started crying in the car and just wanted to get this over with. He was ready to go to prison,'' Ricks said.