Lovers' Quarrel Described at Trial Ex-prosecutor Tells of Disagreement Before Woman's Slaying

David Zizzo Published: December 14, 1990
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ANADARKO A former district attorney, eliminated as a suspect by investigators, testified Thursday that he and Diane Shenold had a lovers' disagreement shortly before the woman was murdered.

Former District Attorney Tony Burns made the statements on the second day of testimony in the retrial of Timothy John Bates in Caddo County District Court. Bates, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Shenold, who was found dead in her Anadarko home July 10, 1989.

Officials determined an attacker smothered the 35-year-old woman, who was divorced with two children, by pressing a pillow over her face.

Burns, who also is divorced, testified that he and Shenold, whom he called "a girlfriend and a friend," had been dating for about nine months and that the two had had sexual relations. Burns said he also was dating a Norman woman at that time.

Burns said he admitted to Shenold the day before she was found dead that the second woman had spent the previous two nights at Burns' Anadarko home.

"She wasn't angry or mad, she was upset," Burns said of Shenold.

Burns said he and his 4-year-old son visited Shenold at her home the afternoon of July 9, at which time Burns invited Shenold and her children to his home to go swimming. She declined, Burns said.

"We didn't have an argument," Burns said under cross-examination by defense attorney Steve Hess. "She was upset. I wasn't upset with her."

He said Shenold did not speak much and "I was trying to talk my way out of it."


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