Overcrowded Prisons In OK Keeps Convicted Murderer At County Jail

Billy Dean Battenfield was sentenced last September to life in prison without parole in the murder of a Norman man, but he remains behind bars at the Cleveland County Detention Center.

Monday, January 21st 2013, 5:06 pm

By: News 9

Billy Dean was convicted in September 2012 for killing Norman resident Owen Pollard.

Pollard was found stabbed to death in his Norman home in November of 2011.

Battenfield was also convicted of three murders in Texas and New Mexico in the late 1970's and early 1980's but served his time and was let out.

11/28/11 Related Story: Law Questioned After Convicted Killer Arrested In Norman Murder

This latest conviction will have him staying behind bars, but the problem is there is no room at the state prison in Lexington right now.

Billy Dean Battenfield pled guilty to that gruesome murder of a Norman man last September, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. But nearly five months later, Battenfield is still behind bars at the Cleveland County Detention Center.

Back in December, Billy Dean Battenfield wrote a handwritten letter to the judge, stating,

"To this date, I am still waiting for the DA and the court clerk's office to certify my judgement and sentence, in order for the sheriff to transport me. Please let me know something concerning this matter soon."

The very next day the judge responded with this letter stating,

"I investigated your concern, your J & S has been prepared, signed and certified for some time." And that "your transport to DOC will happen as soon as space is available."

But that is yet to happen.

"At this point, no we do not know when he will be transported to one of our prisons here in Oklahoma," said Meghan McCormick, spokesperson for the Cleveland County Sheriff's office. "But until then, he'll just wait in our detention center."

And Battenfield is not the only inmate waiting to be transferred to a state prison. According to a Department of Corrections spokesperson, there are some 1,700 prison inmates across the state being held in county jails, waiting to be transferred, but DOC can only take about 180 to 200 inmates a week since they are currently at 98% capacity.

"It can be months, possibly up to a year, its just based on that availability," said McCormick. "You know until they can get the space available, Mr. Battenfield will wait here in our detention center."

Those with both DOC and the county jails confirm nothing can be done until more prisons are built.

Right now, the Cleveland County Detention Center has enough room in their new jail here to accommodate Battenfield and those other inmates waiting to be transferred.


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