PAWHUSKA — Since 2010, two arrest affidavits have been sitting on Osage County District Attorney Rex Duncan's desk.
Both have been sworn, signed and notorized. But neither has ever been filed, and the men listed on the documents aren't likely ever to be charged with the crimes in question.
One of the two affidavits is for the arrest of Damon “Chub” Anderson, the bodyguard of slain Osage County rancher E.C. Mullendore. Anderson, who confessed to a Tulsa private investigator that he'd shot and killed Mullendore, died in 2010.
The other affidavit authorizes the arrest of the Lonnie Joe Brown, the ranch hand who Anderson said helped him stage the scene of the murder to look like a group of unknown intruders killed Mullendore and fled.
Brown, who was Anderson's brother-in-law, is alive and well, Duncan said. But a three-year statute of limitations on accessory to murder has long since passed, meaning prosecutors can't charge him with the crime.
Mullendore, 32, was shot and killed Sept. 26, 1970. His death became one of the most publicized crimes in Oklahoma history. The case was recounted for years in newspapers across the state, and in the 1974 true-crime book “The Mullendore Murder Case,” by Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathon Kwitny.
Gary Glanz, a Tulsa-based private investigator who has been involved in the case from the early hours, said Anderson called him in 2010, after he was released from prison in Kansas. Anderson had been serving a sentence for marijuana cultivation, but was released early due to his poor health.
Over the coming months, Anderson told Glanz that he'd killed Mullendore in a fight. Anderson and Mullendore got into a fight after Anderson worked with deputies who were trying to serve Mullendore with divorce papers.
Glanz said Anderson knew he had to kill Mullendore, or he'd be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.
Anderson's story was re-enacted on the Investigation Discovery documentary series “Behind Mansion Walls.”
After the murder, Glanz said Anderson found a ranch hand and asked him to help Anderson stage the scene. At Anderson's request, the man shot Anderson in the back of the arm to make the story about the group of intruders appear more plausible.
For decades, Anderson was the prime suspect in Mullendore's murder. Although an arrest affidavit was signed months before his death, Anderson was never charged with the crime.
Duncan, who wouldn't be sworn in as Osage County's district attorney until two months after Anderson died, said he didn't know why the arrest affidavit was never filed.
“If he had been alive on my first day in office, I would have charged him,” Duncan said.
But prosecutors are unable to charge Brown with any crime, Duncan said. Today, an accessory to murder charge carries no statute of limitations, he said. But in 1970, that charge carried a three-year statute of limitations, which has long since passed.
Today, the case is still active and Brown is considered a person of interest, Duncan said. But unless investigators learn that he was involved in the crime on a larger scale than they previously thought, it's unlikely anyone will ever be charged with Mullendore's death.