Oklahoma County DA Comments On Decision To Re-File Charges In 40-Year-Old Murder

A metro man is now charged in a 1984 murder and rape case. But this isn’t the first time he’s facing these charges.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 5:39 pm

By: News 9, Jennifer Pierce


A metro man was charged this month in an Oklahoma City murder and rape case nearly 40 years old. However, this was not the first time John Washington, 69, has been charged for the same crimes. He was even convicted and sentenced to death. The conviction was overturned by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals because Washington did not receive a psychiatric evaluation during his trial. He was eventually found incompetent to stand trial.

The 69-year-old man was arrested on a warrant two weeks ago after leaving Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman.

“We feel that he is dangerous enough to the community that we didn’t want to leave him out there,” said Vicki Behenna, Oklahoma County District Attorney.

Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna said Washington spent years at the state mental hospital in Vinita before going to Norman. Her office re-filed first-degree murder and rape charges against Washington. “There is not statute of limitations on murder,” said Behenna. 

The case dates back to 1984. Police were called to an apartment complex in southeast Oklahoma City to investigate the murder of a Tinker Airman and the rape of the man's wife. The murder victim’s body was found in a dumpster near the couples' apartment. Police at the time described what a witness told investigators. 

“The man asked for help, the husband apparently took the man for help,” said David McBride, Oklahoma City Police Department Public Information Officer. “The man then killed the husband. Apparently came back, attacked the wife, and raped her.”

 It was not the first time Washington was accused of a violent crime. He was convicted of murder in 1979 and served a short prison sentence. He is currently in custody at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.

 Behenna said her office has enough evidence from 1984 to go to trial but does not expect that to be the outcome. “I assume what’s going to happen is his defense team is going to find Mr. Washington is incompetent to proceed and we’ll go through the whole thing all over again,” said Behenna.

 Police said Washington’s DNA was tied to a 1982 murder and rape of an Oklahoma City woman. However, he was never charged due to his mental health status. Behenna said police must submit the case to her office for her to consider charging Washington.

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