McAlester rape case may take new turn

SONYA COLBERG Modified: June 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm •  Published: June 13, 2009
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©Copyright 2009, The Oklahoman

McALESTER — The daughter of David Harold Earls, who received a one-year sentence last month after being convicted of raping a 4-year-old girl, says her father raped her when she was a child.

"He was a monster,” Denise Earls, 43, said Friday. "He got a year sentence. I got a life sentence.”

Attorney General Drew Edmondson said his office is looking into the allegations.

"My investigators have talked to this newly identified victim,” he said. "We’re attempting to determine whether, in all likelihood, the statute of limitations has run on those offenses. But it would be additional information that if there were a trial of this person, Earls, that information may be admissible to show the propensity to commit this kind of crime.

"What I’m asking my office to do is, even if we’re barred from doing whatever Mr. Earls pled to, are there other crimes that he committed against this victim or this victim’s sibling that have not been wrapped up in this plea bargain that might be revived in a new prosecution?” Edmondson said.

Earls, 64, is scheduled to serve just three more months in a county jail and won’t go to prison. The one-year plea bargain took into account the time he was booked and held in jail since Sept. 24, 2008.

As a result, Earls is tentatively scheduled to be released Sept. 24, Pittsburg County jail administrator Missi Eldridge said.

Earls pleaded no contest last month to charges of first-degree rape and forcible sodomy.

As part of a plea bargain, he was sentenced to a year of incarceration and 19 years of a 20-year sentence were suspended.

The May 13 plea bargain and the child’s pretrial court appearance in front of Earls brought national and international outcries, even threats to the district attorney, J.B. Miller, whose assistants agreed to the sentence.

Two state representatives have called for proceedings to oust District Judge Thomas Bartheld, who accepted the plea bargain.

His assistants and the child’s family feared the girl would freeze up during the planned closed circuit testimony, Miller said.

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