The FBI has begun a probe into illegal gambling accusations surrounding an Oklahoma City man whose wife was brutally beaten to death, The Oklahoman has learned.
An FBI special agent and an Internal Revenue Service investigator attempted to interview two friends of Teddy Mitchell earlier this month, attorneys for the friends confirmed Wednesday.
A state multicounty grand jury, meanwhile, helped again Wednesday in the separate investigation into Julie Mitchell's death. Oklahoma County prosecutors sought the grand jury's help because some witnesses have been reluctant to talk to Oklahoma City police detectives.
The grand jury heard Wednesday from two of the victim's stepsons, Nick Mitchell and Dryden Mitchell. Each testified about two hours. Grand jury testimony is not open to the public.
The grand jury also heard from David Loveland, a close friend of Teddy Mitchell. His attorney, Larry Cassil, said they were told to return May 25.
Another friend, Edmond insurance agent Michael Thomas, spent only a few minutes before the grand jury and refused to cooperate. The grand jury's judge excused him.
Thomas' attorney, Josh Welch, said “he exercised his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions that would incriminate him” primarily because of “a federal investigation of allegations of gambling … involving Mr. Mitchell.”
“There's no inference that you can draw as to a person's guilt based on their invocation of the Fifth Amendment,” Welch said. “We hope that his status may change, and he may answer questions and cooperate.”
Welch confirmed an FBI agent and an IRS investigator came to Thomas' insurance office last week. Welch said Thomas did not answer their questions, either.
Welch said Thomas and Teddy Mitchell have been friends for years but “haven't spoke in some time.”
Attorney Irven Box told The Oklahoman the FBI agent and IRS investigator came Monday to the law office of Chris Harper, another friend of Teddy Mitchell.
Box said the two wanted to talk about gambling, but Harper did not answer their questions because of attorney-client privilege and other grounds.
Harper is representing Teddy Mitchell is some legal matters.
The grand jury also wants to hear from Harper. Box and Harper waited Wednesday for hours to testify before being told to return May 25.
The grand jury in March heard testimony from a third stepson, Daniel Mitchell. He found his stepmother's body late Nov. 2 inside his father's home.
The grand jury in March also heard testimony from Teddy Mitchell. Teddy Mitchell was traveling to California when he learned of his wife's death, friends have said.
Julie Mitchell, 34, died from multiple blunt force trauma to her head, an autopsy report shows.
Her body was in the master bedroom closet of her husband's $359,000 house in northwest Oklahoma City. Her 1-year-old daughter, London, was in a pool of blood next to the body. The girl was not harmed.
About $30,000 was missing from a closet safe, according to Bobby Jackson, the attorney who represented Teddy Mitchell at the grand jury.
Police have described Teddy Mitchell, 56, as a suspected sports bookie. “It's common knowledge now that he was involved in bookmaking and things like that,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty told KWTV-9 in November.
Spokesmen for the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI on Wednesday said they could not confirm nor deny that there is a gambling investigation under way.