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Oklahoma County district attorney fires two assistants

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater fired two assistant district attorneys over alleged misconduct.
by Tim Willert Modified: April 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm •  Published: April 11, 2012
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Jurors convicted Thompson, 25, of first-degree murder in the Aug. 17, 2010, stabbing death of Manuel Leon Sanchez, 21. The victim was killed outside Thompson's house in Oklahoma City.

Jurors also convicted Thompson of assault and battery for stabbing Maxwell M. McIntyre, 19, in the chest.

McIntyre testified during the trial that he and Sanchez left the house after an altercation and were walking up the street when Thompson came up behind them and stabbed them.

Thompson's attorneys argued he acted in self-defense after McIntyre beat him twice, including once when McIntyre punched Thompson multiple times and kicked him in the head.

Prosecutors alleged Thompson had punched a man in a wheelchair over a cigar during a night of heavy drinking and then threatened McIntyre when he intervened.

‘Inconsistent' statement

Kimbrough and Miller are accused of withholding a statement made by Jose Padilla, the man in the wheelchair, that was “inconsistent” with what he previously told police about where the killing took place, Ravitz said.

That evidence was not turned over to defense counsel, Ravitz said.

Padilla is in a nursing home and did not testify during Thompson's trial. Prosecutors instead used a written statement from Padilla that claimed he said the stabbings were in the street.

That statement was read to the jury.

Padilla was interviewed by investigators from the district attorney's office and the public defender's office after the trial. At that time, he told them the stabbings occurred in the driveway of Thompson's house.

Prater said Wednesday the joint investigation confirmed the witness made a statement to prosecutors that was “materially inconsistent” with his original statement to Oklahoma City police.

“The substance of the inconsistent statement was not disclosed to defense counsel,” Prater said in his written statement. “The assistant district attorneys allowed defense counsel to stipulate to the witness's testimony without including the subsequent inconsistent statement.

“Finally, in their closing arguments, the assistant district attorneys argued that the witness' stipulated (or agreed upon) testimony corroborated other trial testimony.”

The statement, Prater said, was “potentially exculpatory,” or favorable to the defense.

Ravitz said the statement withheld from Thompson's attorneys would have supported his self-defense claim.

“This was a very close case, and this type of evidence could have tipped the verdict in the defendant's favor,” Ravitz said.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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