Thousands Of Deleted Emails Obtained In Daniel Holtzclaw Case
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City recovered thousands of emails it initially claimed were deleted from the account of a former forensic lab employee.
The DNA analyst, Elaine Taylor, retired earlier this year. She provided key testimony in the trial and conviction of fired Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw.
Secrecy surrounding Holtzclaw's appeal has sparked some public concern of a possible cover-up.
07/30/2017 Related Story: Emails Raise Questions About Witness In Holtzclaw Case
The public outcry followed a two-day closed court hearing in June. Holtzclaw's attorneys were not informed or present for the secretive hearing.
Surveillance video from inside the courthouse and law enforcement e-mails, obtained through our Open Records requests, revealed the hearing pertained to Elaine Taylor.
08/24/2017 Related Story: New Documents Unsealed Related To Daniel Holtzclaw Appeal
News 9 requested Taylor's emails pertaining to the Daniel Holtzclaw's case in July but the city claimed her emails were erased from the server, pursuant to city policy, 60 days after her retirement .
On Tuesday, Richard Smith, released 4,050 emails retrieved from the hard drive on Taylor's work station computer.
Richard Smith, Litigation Division Head for Oklahoma City said the city initially thought her computer had been wiped cleaned.
More recently, however, as the deletion of those emails became an issue with the public and in the Holtzclaw appeal, it was suggested that the hard drive of her work station computer be searched.
Turns out, it still contained thousands of emails.
The newly discovered emails revealed an exchange between members of the Oklahoma City Police Department's Investigation Bureau nearly a year after Holtzclaw's conviction.
Holtzclaw was found guilty of multiple sex crimes including rape and sexual assault in 2015.
An email exchange in November 2016 was seemingly in response to national speculation that DNA evidence had been misrepresented.
A police captain first sent Taylor a link to a local media report concerning a controversial billboard in Northeast Oklahoma City.
The billboard questioned "What if he didn't do it," and showcased a picture of Holtzclaw.
CRTV, a subscriber based online media outlet, was behind the billboard that called attention to online reports about possible DNA discrepancies in the case.
"Please see the new article on Holtzclaw,” Captain Ron Bacy, the head of the department’s investigations bureau emailed, “It raised a question.”
Taylor responded with a copy of her lab report and indicated the item in question was male DNA found in Holtzclaw's case.
“This is not new evidence it has always been in my report and is not new evidence. Is everyone in a tizzy?," asked Taylor," I was never asked about it and no one ever got upset because it was in his car.”
Taylor referenced a DNA sample from the inside door handle of Holtzclaw’s patrol car containing an unknown male sample.
"Dont worry. Everthing is fine," the captain replied.
However, her response did not address national speculation that DNA evidence in the 2015 trial had been misrepresented.
The testimony that's drawing much criticism pertains to DNA profiles found on the fly of Holtzclaw’s pants.
A group of independent chemists recently filed a brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals raising concerns over possible misrepresentation of the DNA evidence at trial.
The appellate court responded but did not hear anything further.
The state maintains confidence in Holtzclaw's conviction.
He's serving 263 years in prison.