The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office confirms 63-year-old Judge Don Deason died of a stroke.
This is a huge loss for the Oklahoma County law enforcement community. Judge Deason was loved and respected by many and he leaves behind quite a legacy at the Oklahoma County courthouse.
The halls were eerily silent Friday, in front of Judge Deason’s courtroom. Black ribbons hung outside his courtroom door and a spray of white flowers were placed on the outside wall to signal his passing.
“Well, we are all just incredibly sad today at the loss of Judge Deason. He was a great guy, a great judge. He did so much for out county,” said Vice Presiding Judge Tim Henderson.
Judge Henderson knew Judge Deason well. He said Judge Deason was recently elected to be the presiding judge for both Oklahoma and Canadian County.
“It’s a very big honor it’s your peers that are voting for you,” said Judge Henderson.
Judge Deason died suddenly at his home Thursday, July 28, after having been home ill for the past week. He had a long career with Oklahoma County, first as a prosecutor for 19 years with the D.A.’s office and then moving on to serve on the Bench.
Judge Deason was first appointed Special Judge in Oklahoma County in 1999. He was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to be a district judge six year later.
Most recently, Judge Deason presided over the high profile death penalty case against convicted killer Albert Johnson.
Those who knew Judge Deason say he was a fair judge who cared for everyone, but especially those in law enforcement.
“He so appreciated what officers did for the community,” said Oklahoma Police Chief Bill Citty.
Chief Citty said he remembers working with Judge Deason way back during his detective days and can’t believe he’s gone.
“He was just a really good man, and really tried to do the right thing in life,” said Chief Citty.
Others in Oklahoma County have also paid tribute to Judge Deason both on social media and beyond.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan sent this statement:
"The Oklahoma County family is mourning the loss of a true leader tonight. It was my privilege to work closely with Judge Deason in implementing the SHINE alternatives sentencing program, and his early and enthusiastic support for that program was crucial to its success. Judge Deason was a jurist of great ability, true vision in the area of criminal justice reform and unquestioned integrity. We are poorer for his passing, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers."
Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn, District Three Commissioner and Chairman of the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners released this statement regarding the passing of Judge Deason:
"I have known him throughout my legal career and I tried a number of cases in front of him. He was always professional, very knowledgeable and knew the law very well. It represented the judiciary with great honor and the utmost in professionalism. He showed up to work, did his job and did it well. Those kind of folks are hard to find. I really regret his passing. It is a tragedy that we have lost him."
Oklahoma County officials say funeral arrangement for Judge Deason are pending at this time. He is survived by a son and his wife, Chris, who is a well-known family attorney in Oklahoma City.