Bail Bond News

Jail Experience for Men in Oklahoma County Jail

The Oklahoma County Jail conditions in 2004 were bleak and nothing was being done to fix the mistakes in the building process. Since 2004, the United States Department of Justice has entered the fray and attempted to make the jail better, but there is only so much that can be done. The poor design places every person in the building in danger of being hurt. The design lead to security cameras being placed where views are obstructed. These hidden areas are often located in the cell block, better known at the jail as a “pod”. The design gives different individuals an opportunity to hide activities from the jail staff and occasionally leads to violent altercations in the county jail without the authorities being able to view what took place. These poor design flaws have led to individuals being murdered in the jail.

Oklahoma County Jail

Oklahoma County Jail

The jail also doesn’t have the necessary healthcare in place. It was made public that the jail failed to pay the medical bills for the jail. This type of attitude to the general health of humans leads to all kinds of issues with medical care. Often the unhealthy conditions lead to outbreaks of diseases and a common infection can lead to something more than the normal everyday sickness. The individuals in the jail often complain about how minor aches and pains are too commonly overlooked and believe that they would get better health if they were an animal.

Some of the disturbing conditions are bed bugs. The sleeping mats and blankets are used over and over again at the jail. These necessary items are not cleaned like someone would their own items. The jail makes taking a shower almost impossible. The ineffective leadership often times do not provide warm water to the individuals. This causes germs to spread and the individuals locked up to smell terrible and unhealthy. Also, toilets and sinks will back up in the Oklahoma County jail. It is not uncommon to have sewage in the cells.

See also, “Nurse says she still ‘has nightmares’ about working at one of America’s most notorious jails.”

Moreover, the jail is overcrowded. Most counties and states develop jails with the idea that they have the capacity for a certain amount of people. In Oklahoma County, the common sense approach to housing the right amount of individuals has never been present. The jail will often stick three people in a two person cell forcing in most cases the smallest or weakest individual to sleep on the floor next to the sink or the toilet. This leads to animosity and fights among the inmates.

Finally, the food leaves a great deal to be desired. The jail’s kitchen was shut down for weeks in 2014 for major repairs and there are stories of the jail cleaning pots, pans, and trays in the jail parking lot and forcing food down the drains in the parking lots. This led to food ending up in the Oklahoma River. There’s nothing more demoralizing than living in a cramped jail cell with buds, germs, and other unsanitary conditions while being in danger waiting for a court date.

For a fast release for you or your loved one from these horrible conditions, call Thunder Bail Bonds, your bail bonds OKC professional at 405.235.0002.

Kunta Kenta Griffith, Escapee, Recaptured at Oklahoma County Jail

An Oklahoma County inmate was recaptured Tuesday afternoon, May 24, 2016, after he walked out of the jail Sunday, May 22, 2016, subsequently escaping from custody. Kunta Kenta Griffith, 39, was captured by the Oklahoma County sheriff’s warrant team. He was arrested on a complaint of escape from a penal institution. He was able to blend in with other inmates who only serve weekends.

KuntaGriffithIt was said that the weekend inmates along with Griffith were being taken to the releasing area of the jail to change clothes. Surveillance video from the releasing area shows Griffith grabbing a bag of clothes and changing into the clothes. Griffith left the facility without being released or bonded out.

Griffith was being held after an arrest by Oklahoma City police on a weapons charge. According to his record with the Department of Corrections, Griffith’s criminal convictions date back to 1995; which include multiple drug, weapons, and assault charges. The warrant for Griffith’s arrest says he is a known member of the “Inglewood Family Gangster Blood.”

Sheriff Whetsel spoke up on the issue and said there were at least two “fail safes” that should have prevented the escape. “He should not have been able to get out, but like I said before we had two employees who didn’t do their jobs,” Whetsel told Fox 25, “We’re not accepting excuses and that’s why I stand here before you today and say we screwed up.”

The events leading up to his escape are still under investigation by the sheriff’s department. This in turn questions the capabilities of the men who were on duty when Griffith escaped to do their job as security. How he was able to fool these men with little effort will remain in many people’s minds as they move forward with different measures of security.  Also under scrutiny is Sheriff John Whetsel as he is the person responsible for hiring the employees and maintaining safe guards against something like this occurring.

Oklahoma County Jail: District Attorney’s request for audit

OK County Jail - John whetselThe state auditor agreed to conduct an investigative audit of Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel and his office over allegations of financial wrongdoing. In the audit request (requested Wednesday, March 9, 2016), David Prater outlined several focus areas of concern with the department, including Sheriff John Whetsel himself, in a letter “there are ‘multiple areas of concern.'”

The DA is asking that an auditor investigate the use of funds by the sheriff and/or his department. “There is reason to believe that the Oklahoma County sheriff and/or his administrative staff have violated sections of the Oklahoma statutes and articles of the Oklahoma Constitution,” Prater wrote. “Documents of evidentiary value and proposed witness names will be disclosed to you when you are prepared to receive them.”

The problem? Auditors have been pointing out irregularities in inmate trust accounts for at least seven years with little apparent action by the county. And, as recently as May 28, 2015, the Sheriff’s Office refused to release records about the matter to The Frontier. The sheriff has had severe budget problems for the last couple years that he blames on a loss in revenue from the state Corrections Department. The county jail’s requested resources and the use of campaign contributions were questioned, as well. The sheriff told other county officials in a memo last week “there is a very real and extreme BUDGET EMERGENCY” at his office.

oklahoma county jail - whetselPrater specifically asked the auditor to investigate whether the sheriff “willfully” has refused to pay contracted expenses, whether he deposits all special revenue funds in statutorily approved accounts, whether he has spent funds in a lawful manner and whether he provided false and misleading information to a judge. Of particular interest is the inmate funds which are turned over to the sheriff’s office upon an inmate’s “getting booked” into the jail facility. There are already some very serious discrepancies and even more suspicions that the former sheriff’s personnel have committed criminal theft and conspiracy of the property of jail inmates.

State law requires that when arrestees are booked into a county jail in Oklahoma, money they are carrying must be deposited and held for their eventual release or transfer to prison. Money sent to prisoners by family members and friends is also supposed to be deposited into the inmate trust accounts. In the reports it was found that deposits were not always made daily; receipts for inmate funds were not issued in numerical order; vouchers issued to inmates after release were not issued in numerical order; inmate trust records were not reconciled and financial duties were not segregated.

State law requires the Sheriff’s Office to maintain and oversee the accounts, as well as to provide reports related to them. The request also arose because of questions about information provided to the judge who determines how much inmates are charged for their time in the Oklahoma County jail.

The daily incarceration rate is based on a calculation that begins with the total operating costs of the jail over a year’s time. The current rate is $44.51 per day. Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott complained in February the total given to him for the jail’s operating costs had been inflated by including unrelated things.

john whetselWhetsel, a Democrat, is seeking re-election this year to a sixth term in office and later released a statement about the request:

“…On behalf of myself and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, we welcome this inquiry and will cooperate completely with the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office, just as we do all year long, every year.

Nothing wrong has been done and we have absolutely nothing to hide. The Sheriff does not, nor does any individual County Officer, execute any contracts or make payments on behalf of the County. By law, contracts are executed by the Board of County Commissioners. The County Treasurer and County Clerk handle all deposits of funds and payments. Answers to financial questions are routinely provided by the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office. These internal controls are long established and work well.

The State Auditor and Inspector’s Office audits Oklahoma County Government, including the Sheriff’s Office, every year and just completed an audit for the last fiscal year.
As you are aware, this is an election year and the time when crazy political attacks occur. The reason this surprises me so much is that it is by the person who is responsible by law to represent me and the Sheriff’s Office. Yes, I have occasionally questioned the quality of the D.A.’s advice and representation recently, as have other County Officials, yet we follow that advice and the law each and every day. We always will!

I am an honest and dedicated law enforcement officer in my 48th year of service. This attack is deeply personal and reprehensible. I will continue to faithfully do my job providing law enforcement services and protecting the citizens of Oklahoma County.”

State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones said the audit will be started as soon as he can put an audit team together. Prater likely will turn over the results of the audit to the state attorney general’s office to determine whether charges are warranted. The process could take months.

Cleveland County Man Being Held on $5,000 Bond

tommy stevens bail bondA 28 year-old Cleveland County resident is being held on a $5000 bond with a lengthy list of charges including: eluding a police officer, obstructing an officer, possessing firearms while committing a felony, possession of CDS, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of stolen property, motor vehicle theft, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A police affidavit states that Tommy Stevens was driving down Indian Hills overpass northbound on 1-35 on January 5th, 2016 with a paper tag with no expiration date. As the officer attempted to pull Stevens over allegedly the vehicle began accelerating and swerving. As the vehicle exited I35 in Moore on SW19th St, Stevens hit a curb rolling the vehicle on it’s roof, then an individual inside the vehicle kicked the window out and both Stevens and the unidentified suspect took off on foot ignoring police requests to stop. Eventually the officer was able to pull out his taser and taze Stevens but the other suspect got away.

cleveland county bail bondAs the officer searched Stevens he found a red shotgun shell and two prescription bottles in his pockets. When the tow truck turned the vehicle over, out of the car fell a shotgun that had been cut to 15 ? inches and the shell that was removed from the shotgun was identical to the one found in Stevens pocket. Also in the car were several small plastic bags, two glass pipes with residue and meth, along with two sets of shoes and JCPenny’s credit cards which were allegedly reported as stolen in two separate cases. The prescriptions found on Stevens were later identified as cyclobenzaprine and hydrocodone and the label on the bottle confirmed stolen at the same time the car was stolen. The vehicle was reportedly left outside to warm when Stevens took the vehicle.

Tulsa Man Awarded Bond Reduction

Marquis M. Gilkey a 30 year old man from Tulsa county was released from Pittsburg County on a $15,000 bond in late January. Gilkey is accused of forcing a woman to help him fly a drone carrying contraband into the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester last year.

marcus gilkey

Marcus Gilkey

Even though he was charged on November 4, 2015 with kidnapping, conspiracy, attempting to bring contraband into a penal institution and committing a gang related offense after several court appearances he was awarded a bond reduction and allowed to post bond on January 21, 2016.

Allegedly he worked with Clifton “Chili” Wilson, an inmate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and purported general of the 107 Hoover Crips gang. Oklahoma Department of Corrections officials said staff at OSP in McAlester found a remote-controlled drone upside down on the prison grounds, with a package that had been suspended underneath by fishing line, at about 9 a.m. October 26, 2015.

DOC spokesperson Alex Gerszewski said the package contained two hacksaw blades, a cellphone and cellphone battery, a hands-free device, two packages of cigarettes, two packages of cigars, two tubes of super glue, a 5.3-ounce bag of marijuana, a 0.8-ounce bag with methamphetamine and another bag with less than 1 gram of heroin..

A probable cause affidavit states that the drone contained a memory card that had images of a woman — a Texas resident who regularly visits an OSP inmate — holding a remote control while operating the device. Another affidavit alleges Gilkey forced a woman to drive from Tulsa to McAlester in October to help him smuggle contraband into the maximum-security prison using a remote-controlled drone. The woman reportedly told investigators Gilkey, who used the alias “Marquis,” threatened to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she told anyone about what was happening and showed her a gun concealed in his waistband. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 7.

School Teacher Arrested on Rape Accusations

Raymond Crawford at Oklahoma County Jail

Raymond Crawford at Oklahoma County Jail

Raymond Crawford, Mid-Del Public Schools teacher since August of 2014, has been accused by a 10-year old student at at Epperly Heights Elementary of rape. The girl informed police that on May 21st, the day prior to school letting out for the summer, she was walking to the bathroom when she was followed inside by 44-year-old Crawford, who she says was a fifth grade teacher at the school. The girl said she went to use the handicap stall but Crawford forced his way inside. It was stated that Crawford pulled her pants down and fondled her genitals with his hand. She said he then pulled his pants down and she turned her head away.

During the alleged assault the victim told police she screamed and tried to kick Crawford several times, but it made no difference. After the girl said Crawford pulled out a silver box knife and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what he had done. Crawford was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on a 50,000 bond in August after a report was filed. Then on Sept. 3 he was released on the condition that he wear a monitor and not work as a teacher. Mid-Del Public School spokesperson Stacey Boyer said Crawford resigned from the school on May 26. –see more at: Raymond Crawford at Oklahoma County Jail

If you or a loved one are needing a bail bond in Oklahoma County, please contact Thunder Bail Bonds at 405.235.0002.

Tulsa Man Held Without Bond

Marcus Hilland Runnels, 27, is currently being held in Tulsa county and being accused of firing a shotgun and fatally wounding a man outside a
north Tulsa home located near the 1300 block of North Birmingham Place on December 15th.

Marcus Hilland Runnels

Marcus Hilland Runnels, held without bail.

Initially it was stated the victim was unlikey to survive the altercation. Runnels is accused of firing two shots at Leland Mitchell, 42, as Mitchell was pulling out of a driveway around 10:15 p.m., Sgt. Dave Walker said. The shot struck Mitchell in the head, and he died from his wounds four days after the shooting, on Dec. 19, at St. John Medical Center. Police were investigating the shooting as Tulsa’s 56th homicide before Mitchell died.

Runnels was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, December 22. He is also charged with shooting with intent to kill in connection with the assault. Prosecutors also allege that Runnels attempted to fired at someone else as well on the night of the shooting.

Officers arrested Runnels early Dec. 16 after a standoff outside a residence in the 2900 block of East Woodrow Street. The shooting apparently resulted from an earlier altercation between household members and a person driving erratically, Walker said.

Runnels is being held without bond, according to jail records but should be appearing in court on Dec. 23, and may be awarded a bond. If you or a loved one are awaiting a bond amount in hopes of being able to bond out, please contact Thunder Bail Bonds at 405-235-0002.

Nasty altercation between two panhandlers leads to one being booked into the Oklahoma County Jail

On Friday, April 3rd two panhandlers, Sumner Scott Haggard and Edward Lee Harrison began arguing over the corner they were panhandling on. According to police reports Harrison threatened to cut Haggard.

Haggard retaliated by going to his bicycle, opening a bag attached to his bicycle and pulling out a machete. Harrison said he backed off the corner immediately after Haggard grabbed the machete and threatened him back, according to the report. Haggard also decided to ride off on his bicycle as Haggard backed off the corner.

A witnessed called police after seeing Haggard on the corner waving the machete. As Haggard rode off on his bicycle, leaving the scene, he was stopped by an officer. The officer found the machete in a pool-cue bag attached to his bicycle and a hypodermic syringe in his backpack. Haggard told the officer he did not have diabetes.

He was taken to the Oklahoma County Jail and booked on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, attempted distribution of CDS, concealing stolen property, driving a motor vehicle without a license, a false declaration of ownership to a pawnbroker, manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of precursor substance without permit.

Harrison was questioned but released at the scene. City officials said panhandling tends to rise in the summer months. Neighborhoods going through gentrification tend to see it in an aggressive form but this is a bit more than just aggressive. Sumner’s bond is set at $5,000.

If you or a loved one are needing a bail bond in Oklahoma County, please contact Thunder Bail Bonds at 405.235.0002.

Couple Held in Cleveland County Awaiting Bond Hearing

Cleveland County Sheriff’s detectives have arrested Tonya Lynne Moss, 32, and 34-year-old Justin David Moore in relation to a party that resulted in 15-year-old Nicholas Faught’s death.

Faught was a well-liked student at Lexington High School and involved in football and baseball. Faught was found unresponsive at a home in the 16000 block of Pottawatomie Road Sunday. Faught’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of Purcell.

Detectives were able to determine Moss and Moore had allowed juveniles to drink alcohol at their home on March 28 in Lexington. The couple was arrested during a routine traffic stop on Tuesday night.

Moss was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center on complaints of permit invitee under 21 to possess/consume alcohol resulting in death, child neglect, contributing to delinquency of minors and carrying firearms after conviction/probation.

Moore was booked on complaints of permit invitee under 21 to possess/consume alcohol resulting in death, contributing to the delinquency of minors, carrying a loaded firearm and transporting loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

The arrest is not Moore’s or Moss’s first run-in with law enforcement. Moore was arrested last year in connection to a fatal shooting in Tecumseh. Moss was convicted a couple of years ago on drug charges

As for the alcohol charge, the sheriff’s office says this case should be a reminder that throwing a party for minors in Oklahoma can be a felony if someone is hurt or killed.

Sheriff Joe Lester said adults should never allow anyone under 21 to consume alcohol for any reason. “It’s a tragedy that a 15-year-old boy lost his life because two individuals failed to look out for the safety and well-being of him and the group of teenagers who were at their home over the weekend,” Lester said. “Both people will be held accountable and have to deal with the tough consequences of their actions. Any parent who is considering allowing children to use alcohol or drugs should remember what happened to Nicholas Faught and make the right decision.”

A preliminary examination by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner shows no injuries that were a result of foul play.
If you have a loved one pending a bond hearing, contact Thunder Bail Bonds at 405.235.0002 to figure out how to stay on top of it and get them out as quickly as possible.

Bond Denied in Murray County

Justin Ray Smith was denied bond after Assistant District Judge Aaron Duck entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of unrepresented Smith who was in jail on eight felony charges in connection with the shooting of Randal Lee Hokett at the Murray County District Courthouse. The charges include one count of first degree murder, one count of first degree burglary, one count of shooting with intent to kill, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of rape and one count of committing a pattern of criminal offenses in two or more counties. Assistant District Attorney David Pyle asked for and received the denial of bond. Duck scheduled a preliminary hearing conference at 9 a.m., April 14 and told Smith he would need an attorney by April 7 and notified him of his rights.

In an affidavit signed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Justin Brown, Smith is alleged to have shot Hokett once in the head. The affidavit identifies the female victim as Hokett’s girlfriend as well as the ex-wife of Smith. Smith allegedly went to her house in Sulphur on March 7, forced entry with a gun and knocked Hokett to the floor. Smith forced both Hokett and the female to get into a blue F-350 truck and drove to Veteran’s Lake in Sulphur, which is federal property, where he shot Hokett in the head. Smith also fired another shot and threatened to harm the female if she did not follow instructions.

Smith later allegedly tied the female to a tree and left her on a rural road just 11 miles north of Sulphur, returning later to pick her up in a black Buick then drove to Lindsay, picked up a gun at a residence and drove into rural Garvin County. Smith proceeded to allegedly rape the woman and then drove her back to Sulphur where he told her to tell police she committed the murder of Hockett or he would rape her family. On the same day, a Sulphur policeman searched for and located the pickup with the body of Hokett inside. A gun was found in the vehicle. Smith was located at a residence and contact was made with an unidentified person with instructions to tell Smith he needed to contact authorities. Smith later turned himself in.

Pyle and the U.S. Attorney came to an agreement to try the case at the state level. An agreement was also reached with the Garvin County District Attorney’s office regarding the two charges of rape. Pyle said there is a statute that will allow all charges to be tied in Murray County.

If you have any further questions about the Murray County bail bonds process or the Oklahoma County bail bonds process call us at 405.235.0002.