Crime Victims Speak Out In Tulsa County DA Race


Monday, July 10th 2006, 11:16 am
By: News On 6


Voters in Tulsa County will choose a District Attorney on July 25th. Republican Tim Harris has had the job for eight years. Republican Brett Swab wants it. Swab has been endorsed by all 10 police unions in Tulsa County.

Monday, a half dozen victims who said Harris mishandled their cases, threw their support to Swab. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright has that and Harris' response.

The news conference started with Brett Swab saying he feels the current DA has let down the two groups that are most important. "The District Attorney has failed in his communication with police and with victims."

A handful of people spoke who were unhappy with how the DA's office handled their case, a child molestation, a shooting and three murders. One case involved Shawn Howard; a man who police say was beaten to death by Terry Badgewell. Tim Harris didn't file charges, saying it was self-defense since Howard had beaten Badgewell first, with brass knuckles.

Howard's unhappy family collected enough signatures to get a grand jury convened. That jury did charge Badgewell with murder. Howard’s family attorney Richard Hicks: "In dealing with the District attorney's office, I ran into stubbornness and a lack of looking objectively at the law and charges that ought to occur."

Harris says his decision was based on the facts and the law. He says out of 94,000 cases that have come through his office, there are bound to some victims who are upset, but he believes the majority are pleased with his work. "With a 90 percent prosecution rate in 2006, the highest in Tulsa County, with us putting more people in the pen in 2004 than any other DA's office in Tulsa County, I know people are pleased because I'm keeping them safe. And, convicting people is what make people safe, not just charging them."

Harris says recent high-profile cases, like the murder of 10-year-old Elizabeth Wagoner and the previous murder of Amber Rogers both resulted in long prison terms and victims who felt they received justice.

Again, the election is July 25th.

If you'd like to hear the candidates debate the issues in person, they'll be at the Radisson Hotel on July 21st at 11:30 AM and at the downtown Kiwanis meeting at noon on July 24th.

You can also check out each of their websites. Brett Swab's website is swabforda.com and Tim Harris' website is timharrisda.com.