|Updated: 8/19/2011 9:24 am
||Published: 8/17/2011 10:10 pm
After 14 days of testimony and more than 50 witnesses, both sides have rested their case in the Tulsa police corruption trial.
Officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton are charged with a total of 61 counts, including lying about informants to bust drug dealers, lying under oath and threatening witnesses.
Henderson is also accused of drug charges.
Both officers took the stand and the jury heard from informants, admitted drug dealers, felons and officers.
The prosecution tried to hammer Officer Henderson for answers but Henderson did not back down.
He would correct U.S. Attorney from Arkansas Jane Duke and even his own attorney.
Henderson has been in jail since July 2010 and said he can correct who he wants because it’s his life and he has done nothing wrong.
A complex investigation into Tulsa police corruption, thousands of pages of documents and it basically comes down to who the jury will believe; the accused officers or the prosecution's key witnesses.
First there is admitted dirty officer Former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden who Henderson said he had no idea he was crooked until now.
Although they worked closely together for a short time Henderson refutes McFadden’s testimony, “There is nothing to show we have stole drugs, everything he said has not been corroborated."
Henderson said McFadden is testifying to help himself because he pleaded guilty to lesser charges and could serve 7-9 years in prison.
McFadden claims Henderson and Yelton threatened him if he talked to the feds.
McFadden said they took him out to the water treatment plant in North Tulsa and Yelton racked the slide on his gun.
Both officers say that never happened.
“He embellished his made up story,” said Henderson.
Second is informant Rochelle Martin.
She claims in exchange for information about drug dealers on the street Henderson gave her hydro-weed to sell so he could bust dope dealers.
In the search warrants either drugs, guns and cash were found in the search warrants.
The prosecution argues he illegally documented different informants in a secured police database and in search warrant affidavits.
TPD supervisors said it was not illegal or a policy violation.
Henderson said he has phone records to back up his story, where he called informants before, during and after search warrants.
However, she questioned how he knew about incoming calls when the caller’s number wasn’t listed.
“It’s convenient for you the phone records help you remember?” asked Duke.
Henderson fired back, “No, I don’t conveniently tell you, I tell the truth.”
Henderson told the prosecution he suspected Martin was a drug dealer but he never witnessed her commit a crime.
Meaning for informants to be reliable they have to play the game to live the game.
He said he never took just her word, he did his homework.
He called out the prosecution and said Martin is testifying for the government because they don’t know what it’s like to live in North Tulsa.
"She is scared...hopes she doesn't get killed. She doesn't want to admit she's an informant,” said Henderson.
Duke asked him if criminals commit crimes with other criminals don’t crooked cops commit crimes with crooked cops.
Henderson agreed but said it was only McFadden.
It’s a similar story for meth dealer turned informant Ryan Logsdon who claims the cops are dirty too.
He claims McFadden and Henderson stole cash and meth.
McFadden and Logsdon’s have previously testified different stories on how much meth and how much cash was found and turned in.
Under cross-examination Henderson told the jury he believes Logsdon is testifying to save so he avoids charges, “…looking at a substantial time in prison."
When Duke pressed him to explain why her witnesses are liars, Henderson fought back saying their stories don’t add up and he has more evidence than the word from ex-cons.
"I'm telling the truth...it's better than what I've heard from your witnesses," said Henderson.
Duke asked him if he’s ever been invited by her Office to give his side of the story.
She claims an invitation was sent to his former Attorney Chad Greer but Henderson claims he was never told about the invitation.
He did travel to Little Rock in hopes she would disclose the evidence against him but Henderson said the meeting only lasted five minutes.
“No one has ever approached me to tell my side of the story,” said Henderson.
Henderson faces 53 counts of perjury, violating people’s civil rights, witness tampering and drug conspiracy and distribution charges.
Yelton faces 8 similar counts except the drug charges.
"You believe these allegations are false?...for what reason?" asked Duke.
Making another jab at Henderson Duke asks if they are lying or are they ‘mistaken’ a word used from a judge about Henderson under prior testimony in a drug case.
"I believe you all have been misled and lied to,” said Henderson.
Duke questioned Henderson about his word when he couldn’t come up with documents or evidence.
"If the jury doesn't believe you, you should get convicted? It's important the jury believes you?”
Henderson said during search warrants it can happen that officers miss drugs or guns or cash in a house.
Referring to prior testimony from a person named in the case who claims he has been wrongfully charged.
“We are not dirty officers like we are accused of, we do not plant drugs. Sometimes we miss things,” said Henderson.
During part of the time of the allegations Henderson said his father who is also a retired TPD officer died from an illness.
Duke questioned him about his near $300,000 home, vehicles, lake property, family trip and cash deposits and his base salary of $63,000.
Henderson said he worked hard and he inherited money from his father, sold his house and things and money and jewelry was left in a safety deposit box.
Henderson’s defense attorney Robert Wyatt asked him, “Would you rather have your father back than the money?”
The last words the jury heard from Henderson was him choking up, “Yes, any day.”
The jury will be instructed on how to deliberate tomorrow morning.
There are 90 pages of instructions and U.S. District Judge from New Mexico, Bruce Black said it could last 90 minutes.
After instructions there will be three hours for closing arguments.
Henderson’s defense gets an hour, Yelton will have 30 minutes and the prosecution will get 90 minutes.
The earliest the jury could start deliberating would be about 1:30 in the afternoon and the deliberations could go into Saturday.