Jury deliberations continue Tuesday in TPD trial

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Updated: 8/22/2011 7:20 pm Published: 8/22/2011 1:57 pm

A full day of deliberations and the jury still has to go back to work Tuesday morning.

They’re deciding the fate of two Tulsa police officers accused of corruption.

The eleventh hour has come and gone and jurors go back behind closed doors tomorrow morning.

The jury has to go through 61 counts. Henderson is charged with 53 counts including stealing meth, cocaine and marijuana for personal profit.

Yelton is charged with eight counts including threatening the prosecution’s key witness with a gun if he talked to the feds.

The trial started on August 1st, in federal court in Tulsa, with U.S. District Judge Bruce Black presiding over the trial. He is absent this week so U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson is presiding over the deliberations.

After the jury was dismissed Judge Wilson warned the gallery about any comments or outburst during the reading of the verdict.

He said it would be disrespectful to the jurors and will stop the reading of the verdicts and ask those disturbing the proceeding be removed from the courtroom.

During the three week trial U.S. Attorney Jane Duke of Eastern Arkansas called 40 witnesses to the stand and the defense called 13 witnesses including Henderson and Yelton to the stand.

The jury has to review 61 counts and with eleven hours of deliberations they are not taking this case lightly.

They are all counts that accuse Officers Henderson and Yelton of being crooked cops.
The officers are veteran officers with a list of awards and officers who swept through Tulsa for years fighting the war on drugs and gangs.

However, the prosecution believes the officers busted a handful of drug dealers and used informants for glory and did it illegally.

During the three weeks of testimony, jurors learned more than they could imagine about North Tulsa’s drug world.

This is a case more about the words of dope dealers, felons and informants who have avoided prison time.

Also former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden who alleges he committed drug crimes with Henderson and was threatened by Yelton if he talked to the feds.

In exchange for his testimony, McFadden pleaded guilty to lesser charges and could serve fewer years in prison.

When Henderson and Yelton took the stand they denied they have broken the law.

They showed phone records, property receipts of drugs that were found and turned in and talked about surveillance and corroborating informant information before search warrants.

They fought for their freedom pointing out holes in the prosecutions case calling the government’s witnesses liars to protect themselves.

The two officers have been denied bond and have been in the Tulsa County jail since July, 2010.

Family and friends sit in the courtroom hallway anxiously waiting for a clerk to come out and say there’s a verdict.

The jury has only passed two notes during deliberations. Around 4:45 p.m. they have asked the judge to be dismissed at 5 p.m.

In June, Officers Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham were acquitted in a separate corruption trial.

Retired Corporal Harold Wells was convicted on five of ten counts including conspiracy to steal money and possession of meth with intent to distribute.

Wells is awaiting sentencing. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

In that case, jurors had to go over a total of 21 counts and they had a verdict in less than five hours.

The trials have released 38 people from prison or had their charges dropped.

If the officers are acquitted those drug dealers will still be free unless they get caught and convicted on new charges.

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