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Juror in Kelsey Smith-Briggs abuse case denies misconduct accusations

A juror, Brandi Oldham, 29, of Tulsa, OK, told a judge she did not watch TV news and did not do improper Internet research about the case of Kelsey Smith-Briggs during the eight-day trial in Bristow.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: September 2, 2010 at 5:51 am •  Published: September 2, 2010

— A juror Wednesday denied accusations of misconduct during a high-profile 2007 child-abuse trial.

The juror, Brandi Oldham, 29, of Tulsa, told a judge she did not watch TV news and did not do improper Internet research about the dead girl's case during the eight-day trial in Bristow.

Oldham said her accuser blames her somewhat for getting fired in 2007 from the home health care company where they both worked.

"He believes I had a part in it," she said.

The testimony came during a fact-finding hearing for Raye Dawn Smith, the mother of Kelsey Smith-Briggs.

Smith, 30, of Meeker, is appealing her conviction for enabling child abuse. Kelsey, 2, died from abuse in 2005. The mother is serving 27 years in prison.

Kay County District Judge D.W. Boyd heard testimony from a dozen witnesses Wednesday on the jury misconduct issue. He will make a report next month to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The appeals court then will decide whether to uphold the conviction or give Smith a new trial.

About 20 of Smith's supporters showed up for the four-hour hearing.

The misconduct accusations are being made by Smith's attorneys. Prosecutors said the accusations are not true.

Lincoln County District Attorney Richard Smothermon told reporters after the hearing, "I thought the evidence clearly showed that no jury misconduct occurred. I thought it clearly showed it could not have occurred."

The juror's former supervisor, Todd Bowman, 35, of Sapulpa, testified Oldham called him at least twice a day during the trial. He testified she admitted she and other jurors watched news about the trial. He said she remarked reporters didn't really know what was going on at the trial.

He said she also admitted that she had looked at a website about the case. He testified she said information on the website was shocking.

He testified Oldham told him during the trial that Smith looked like trash and should fry.

He said he wrote Smith's appellate attorney, Stephen Jones, on Nov. 16, 2007, after his conscience got the better of him. He said Oldham had told him Smith's attorneys were questioning the integrity of the jury. He said she had asked him not to repeat what she had said during the trial.

He admitted to the district attorney that Nov. 16, 2007, is the same day he was fired from the home health care company.

The juror, Oldham, admitted in her testimony that she called Bowman regularly during the trial. But she said she called only because she was doing some marketing work for their company on lunch breaks and was just checking in. She said she also discussed with him the trial schedule.

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