Former Rep. Randy Terrill was released Wednesday afternoon from the Oklahoma County jail after a judge ruled he can be free while appealing his political bribery conviction.
Terrill, 44, of Moore, spent Tuesday night in jail after the 12 jurors found him guilty.
“My message to the rest of the Legislature would be: You better watch your back. Because if you make the district attorney mad, you may be next,” he told reporters after leaving the jail.
District Judge Cindy Truong ruled Terrill could go home once he posted a $10,000 bond. He was released shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The judge ordered Terrill to have no contact with any witnesses in the case. “If you do, I will have your bond revoked and you will be sitting in prison,” she warned.
The judge also required Terrill to wear an ankle monitor until after the jury trial of his co-defendant, former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich. Her trial is set to begin Dec. 9.
Prosecutors opposed his release but the judge said he is not a flight risk, his crime is a nonviolent one and he does not have a prior criminal record.
His defense attorney, Chris Eulberg, told the judge, “There is a very good chance that the case could be reversed on appeal.”
Terrill appeared before the judge Wednesday afternoon in orange jail clothes, white socks and jail sandals. His hands were handcuffed in front of him and his legs were restricted by an ankle chain.
Jurors on Tuesday evening found Terrill guilty of a felony — offering a bribe to a candidate to withdraw.
Jurors agreed Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year state job at the medical examiner's office in 2010. Prosecutors alleged Terrill bribed her to induce her not to run for re-election to her Senate seat that year.
“The evidence was circumstantial but quite strong,” said one juror, Bill Lloyd IV, of Edmond. “The testimony was very strong.”
Jurors didn't believe Terrill, who testified in his own defense Tuesday for two hours.
“Not believable,” Lloyd said of Terrill's testimony. “Self-serving, I think, is the best way to put it. There was no trust in what Mr. Terrill said.”
Jurors chose a punishment of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Jurors could have given Terrill up to two years in prison but they agreed on half that time after negotiating back and forth over the issue.
“There were some that wanted the maximum and there were some that wanted a lot less,” Lloyd said.
Jurors were surprised the maximum punishment for the crime was only two years, Lloyd said.
In one of the twists in the case, the punishment for offering a bribe to a candidate to withdraw increased on Jan. 1, 2011.
The maximum punishment for the election crime is now five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Prosecutors could not seek the new punishment against Terrill because the offense was in 2010.
Leftwich, 62, of Oklahoma City, also is charged with a felony — soliciting and/or accepting a bribe to withdraw. District Attorney David Prater charged them in December 2010.
She has pleaded not guilty. She faces up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
The formal sentencing for Terrill is set for Dec. 5. The judge is not expected to suspend any part of his time. His appeal will take months to file because the judge's court reporter must complete trial transcripts first.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals likely will not rule for more than a year after the appeal is filed. A key issue in the appeal will be whether Leftwich actually ever was a candidate for the Senate in 2010.
She announced she was not running for re-election on May 28, 2010, and never filed any paperwork at the state Election Board. Truong ruled Leftwich was a candidate because she had been raising money for a 2010 race.