Holtzclaw update: Parole hearing, secret hearings, and conflicts galore

On Jan. 22-24, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board held hearings related to one of 36 counts against wrongfully convicted former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw.

Four members of the board–Robbie Fullerton, Kris Steele (more on him in a moment), Allen McCall, and Tom Gillert–voted to deny Daniel parole on the charge. Board member Brett Macy, a former OCPD officer, former GOP Oklahoma County sheriff’s candidate, and son of notorious former District Attorney Bob Macy, recused himself.

Here is the parole board’s ballot:

Here is Daniel’s statement of innocence to the parole board:

Daniel’s father, Eric, also submitted a statement outlining the flawed investigation, shoddy science, mob rule at trial, prosecutorial misconduct, and constitutional violations that led to Daniel’s convictions:

The count at issue before the parole board (“Count 1”) involved an allegation of sexual battery by accuser Tabitha Barnes.

This is Tabitha Barnes (a.k.a. Tabitha Jean Barnes):

As I have previously reported, Barnes erroneously described Daniel (pale and half-Japanese) as “dark-skinned” and had not reported any inappropriate behavior to the police — until sex-crimes detective Rocky Gregory informed her about the Holtzclaw investigation and coached her by telling her he “had a tip that maybe she had been the victim of an unreported sexual assault.”

Det. Gregory supplied her with a date for the assault and she changed her story to match the investigator-supplied information. Barnes testified positive for PCP on the morning she testified at trial. She had also ingested hydrocodone and marijuana.

Eric Holtzclaw further pointed out to the parole board:

During trial, Barnes lied to the judge about her drug use. At first she denied under oath that she had taken anything other than her prescribed medications. Then she admitted she would test positive for THC because she had smoked marijuana. Finally, just before a urine test, she admitted to a female police officer that she would also test hot for PCP. Results showed that she did test positive for PCP within hours of testifying at trial (R.1962-69). Barnes was allowed to testify during the trial while under the influence of PCP.

Barnes’s lack of credibility is also suggested by her recent arrest: she was booked on Dec. 20, 2017, by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office for “false [im]personation; interfering with official process; larceny; and threatening to perform an act of violence.” (Case # CPC-2017-11899 in Oklahoma County, Date Filed: 12/20/2017.)


Tabitha Barnes said that her assailant’s skin was an “Indian tan color” and his hair was a light brown, while Daniel’s skin is pale and his hair is black. Barnes told the detective that she had lifted up her shirt and bra and the officer had touched her bare breasts, but during the trial she testified that she had not been wearing a bra. Daniel’s appeal brief also points out that Daniel’s trial attorney failed to call a witness who “indicated that Ms. Barnes was put in handcuffs,” which was inconsistent with Ms. Barnes’s testimony and “could have repudiated the notion that she was made to expose herself,” as she had claimed. (Appellant’s Brief, pp. 41-42). Despite these inconsistencies and contradictions, Barnes’ testimony led to Daniel’s wrongful conviction on Count 1.

Here’s more information on Barnes’ latest arrest involving assault and battery…on a police officer:

Mugshots.com ID: 150221457
DOB: 1/09/1973
Sex: Female
Race: Black
Height: 5′ 5″ (1.65 m)
Weight: 156 lb (71 kg)
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: BROWN
Arrest Number: 2017000105
Cash Bond: N/A
Arrest Date: 1/18/2017
Charges: N/A

It has now been exactly a year plus one week since Daniel’s public defenders filed his appeal in the criminal case. Not only has the state failed to respond in a timely matter, but it has dragged its feet in responding to Daniel’s lawyers’ motion to unseal the June 2017 secret hearings on the botched DNA evidence. Meanwhile, the Court of Criminal Appeals has failed to act on Daniel’s lawyers’ simple motion to preserve evidence in his case filed more than 6 months ago.

At Pyongyang on the Prairie, there is zero interest or outrage in the grave conflicts of interest posed by the close familial relationship between two crucial, biased, and incompetent players for the prosecution: co-lead OCPD detective Rocky Gregory and his mother-in-law, OCPD forensic analyst Elaine Taylor, whose flawed work prompted six internationally renowned scientists to release a public forensic report outlining her failures and lapses–and calling for a new trial for Daniel.

Speaking of conflicts of interest, parole board member Kris Steele, who voted to deny Daniel’s parole on Count 1, doesn’t seem to have disclosed his bias about Daniel’s case and his chummy relationship with Oklahoma City police chief William Citty.

But as part of one of my many public records requests to the OCPD, I found this e-mail from Steele to Citty, seeking endorsement of a ballot initiative he had drafted and praising Citty for his participation in a rally with Holtzclaw’s accusers.

“Way to go!” Steele effused. “You are amazing and truly one of the greatest leaders I know!”

This “greatest” leader, I must point out to you, threw Daniel under the bus and publicly terminated him 10 months before his trial even began.

Check it out:

Why no recusal from Mr. Steele? Or is this just another in a long line of crony connections that will get whitewashed as an innocent man and dedicated law enforcement officer sits behind bars?