Prater Is Targeted by Some

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater describes the attempted robbery of the Reliable Pharmacy at 5900 S Penn. during a press conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 27, 2009. Pharmacist Jerome Ersland was charged today with first-degree murder in the May 19 shooting death of a would-be robber. Photo by Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Some residents are working to have a second grand jury convened in Oklahoma County to investigate the district attorney.

“Today is one of those days where we’re going to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Garland Pruitt, president of the local NAACP,  said at a news conference.

The local civil rights activists  call in their petition for the grand jury to indict District Attorney David Prater or present accusations for his removal from office

“if its findings warrant.”

They complain he has illegally violated high-profile death row inmate Julius Jones’ constitutional rights because of race.

They also allege he has filed frivolous legal actions and made public statements intended to intimidate the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board from giving Jones a fair hearing.

Jones, 41, is facing execution for the 1999 murder of Edmond insurance executive Paul Howell during a carjacking. 

The death row inmate claims he is innocent and the real killer framed him.

He has a clemency hearing before the Oklhoma Pardon and Parole Board Oct. 26 and has been given a November execution date.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said he will make a decision on whether to commute the inmate’s death sentence after Oct. 26.

“I will never cease advocating for justice in every case that I am responsible for,” District Attorney Prater said last week in an e-mail.

“That is my duty and I will continue to be aggressive in the pursuit of justice.

“I am proud to advocate for the Paul Howell family and all innocent victims and families who have been targeted by brutal killers like Julius Jones.

“I will not be intimidated by any person or group of people threatening me with a grand jury. I am never afraid of the truth. Those who advocate for these coldblooded killers can’t say the same.”

Mr. Pruitt nd others submitted their petition for a grand jury to an Oklahoma County district judge last week.

  They will have 45 days to gather signatures from county voters if the judge rules the petition is sufficient to proceed.

Mr. Pruitt and others  complained “similarly situated death row inmates who are white have not received the same level of adverse treatment by Mr. Prater.” 

Julius Jones is Black.

A grand jury already is being convened in Oklahoma County to investigate the Oklahoma County Jail  and the parole board. Jury selection is set for Oct. 18.

Oklahoma County’s presiding judge, Ray C. Elliott, agreed last week to convene that grand jury at District Attorney Prater’s request.

Follow by Email