Judge: OKC Officer Accused Of Sexual Assaults Will Go To Trial
OKLAHOMA CITY - A judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that there is enough evidence for an Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexual assaults to go to trial.
While protesters rallied around the courthouse about 32 felony counts, prosecutors inside the courtroom were adding even more charges for the judge to consider.
In all, Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, faces a total of 35 felony counts and one misdemeanor after 13 women testified about their forced sexual encounters with the officer while he was supposed to be on the job patrolling the streets, keeping the public safe.
“This is a case where legitimately there could have had 50, 60 counts,” said Scott Adams, Holtzclaw's attorney. “Either he did it or didn't - and that's what a jury is going to determine. And that's why I want to have a real trial in front of a real jury in a courtroom and see what happens.”
The judge said on Tuesday that one count by itself would not have been enough for Holtzclaw to go to trial, but along with the 35 total charges, the state has proven their burden that probable cause exists to go forward with a trial.
The judge overruled all of the defense team's protests or demur to the charges presented. A pretrial conference is set for Judge Henderson at 9 a.m. on January 21.
More women testified against Holtzclaw during the second day of the hearing.
The first person to take the stand on Tuesday, a 44-year-old woman, said she was walking home alone back in May of this year when an officer pulled her over and asked to search her.
The woman admitted she had a crack pipe on her and said officer Holtzclaw placed her in the back of his police car and checked her for warrants. She said he told her to adjust her pants and raise her shirt so he could check her for drugs. While her head was turned away, the woman said Holtzclaw exposed himself and told her to perform oral sex.
The woman testified that she was very nervous and skittish on the stand as Holtzclaw watched her intently. She admitted that she did perform oral sex on Holtzclaw, and said that afterwards, she asked for the crack pipe back.
The woman admitted she did not want to do it, but said she "was scared and was afraid since he was the police, and who am I to a police officer.” She said she was afraid though she didn't have any warrants, “he would make something up since he already broke the rules."
The woman said Holtzclaw then told her it was not safe to walk home and said he would drive her. She said he drove her to a field, but she freaked out. He then drove her back to where she asked him to drop her off. She said she's a drug addict and only knew one way to deal with it, and that was to get high.
The woman said she did tell her boyfriend about what happened but was afraid to tell police because she figured they would not believe her. She said she finally reported it to police during a call on a domestic dispute.
The woman admitted she is a convicted felon, drug user and former prostitute. The state then asked the judge to add two additional counts of procuring lewd exhibition as a result of her testimony on cross examination, which brings the total counts against Holtzclaw up to 36 now.
The second victim to take the stand Tuesday, a 38-year-old woman, is currently an inmate at Oklahoma County Jail. She said in April, she was getting high on crack cocaine and she was walking down the street near N.E. 14th and Jordan, when she was approached by a police car.
The woman said Holtzclaw asked her what she was doing in the area. She said he searched her purse and found her crack pipe. She said Holtzclaw then offered her a ride home. When he let her out, he walked her up to the door, and escorted her inside.
The woman said she showed Holtzclaw around the house to show that she lived there. When they were in her bedroom, Holtzclaw reportedly told the woman to sit down on the bed, saying "this is better than county." The woman said Holtzclaw then exposed himself to her and told her to provide oral sex. She said after a few minutes, Holtzclaw climbed on top of her and started having sex with her.
The third victim to testify on Tuesday, a 54-year-old woman, said she was sitting on a curb in April when she was approached by officer Holtzclaw. She said he asked her if she was a working girl and checked her for drugs, and that he found a crack pipe.
The woman said Holtzclaw grabbed her breast. During a cross examination, she admitted she was incarcerated on an assault and battery charge and has prior convictions. The woman also admitted that she was high on crack cocaine the day of the assault.
A fourth victim to testify on Tuesday said on April 25, she was around the area of MLK and 23rd. She said she used to have an alcohol problem and was drinking that day, and that she was in her car giving a friend a ride home.
The victim said she was pulled over by an officer. She didn't want to go to jail, so she complied with the officer's request to pull her pants down to her knees. The woman said the officer made a lewd comment, but she didn't know what he meant by the comment.
The woman testified that the officer told her he was going to take her to detox. She asked if she could take her car to a relative's home, because she didn't want to leave her car unattended in that neighborhood, and she said he allowed her to do so while he followed. The woman said the officer then told her to get out, pull down her pants and put her hands on the police car. He then raped her.
The woman said she asked her brother if officer had a right to ask a woman to undress without another officer present, but she did not tell him everything. She said she was too ashamed and admitted she had been molested as a child and had been raped before.
The woman testified that she moved out of state and has been trying to get sober.
On a cross examination, the woman admitted that she had been to prison before on robbery charges. She said police drove out of state to come see her about this incident. She admitted to using crack cocaine.
The woman said her daughter looked up Holtzclaw's case on the Internet and showed it to her, and she identified Holtzclaw as the man who raped her.
The fifth woman to take the stand Tuesday said she is on probation and saw a news report about Holtzclaw. And she went to her probation officer and reported he had assaulted her, too.
The woman testified that it happened on June 18, when she got in an argument with her boyfriend and went to take a walk near N.E. 16th and Lottie. She said she saw a police car pull up with lights on. She said she was on her phone with her boyfriend when the officer pulled up and offered her a ride.
The woman said she declined and told the officer that "she didn't want to seem like a snitch." She said the officer persisted and told her it wasn't safe to walk that late at night.
The woman testified that she was in the police car while he was running her name for a warrant check. She said he drove her to a nearby abandoned school near Miramar. But she had asked to be dropped off at 16th and Highland. She said Holtzclaw asked her to adjust her clothing, so he could check if she had anything on her. And she pulled out her bra and pulled her pants and panties down.
The woman said the officer made a lewd comment to her and asked her to perform oral sex while she was seated in the back of his police car. She said he then had her bend over and raped her.
The woman testified that the officer said he wanted to see her again. She said she told her boyfriend what happened and he told her to call 911, but she said she was too afraid.
The woman said the officer had tattoos on his arms, and she identified Holtzclaw as the officer in this incident.
On a cross examination, the woman admitted she is a convicted felon and didn't report what happened to her probation officer until after it was all over the news.
During the cross examination, when some of the women were asked if they had been offered a deal by prosecution to testify, and they all said no.
During the defense team's turn, Scott Adams, Holtzclaw's lead attorney, told the judge they felt there was not enough real evidence to go forward with a trial, trying to pick apart at the prosecution's charges against his client in comparison with the testimony. He claimed there may have been policy violations during some, but he did not see anything illegal during some of the alleged searches. Adams said he asked to have some of the charges thrown out.
We could hear protesters chanting outside through the windows of the courtroom. Those protesters have gathered outside the jail and courthouse before to show their support for the women testifying and their disgust with the officer accused of sexually assaulting women on the northeast side of town.