Oklahoma rapist’s lawyer defends deal

SONYA COLBERG Modified: July 6, 2009 at 10:09 am •  Published: July 6, 2009
McALESTER — The attorney who represented child rapist David Harold Earls said the embattled district attorney tried to get Earls to accept a plea agreement with a harsher sentence than just one year.

"They had pushed for a longer sentence. And up until the last few days before the trial, there were discussions between the DA’s office and myself for different lengths of time,” said Tim Mills, who was assigned to the Earls case. "I’m not going into the details of any negotiations between the DA’s office and myself. But I can tell you anything above and beyond what was settled for and what Mr. Earls pled to, Mr. Earls had rejected, and we would have gone to trial.”

The day the trial was scheduled to begin, Mills and representatives of Pittsburg County District Attorney J.B. Miller agreed on one year in jail and 19 years suspended for Earls’ rape of a 4-year-old girl. Judge Thomas Bartheld accepted the recommendation May 13 and set off a firestorm over the 64-year-old prior felon.

Investigation into case
More than a month into the controversy, the case has ignited personal threats, bomb threats, additional molestation accusations by Earls’ relatives and a recent comment from Fox television show correspondent Geraldo Rivera that "I will not weep if something happens to David Earls.”

Mills said it’s unlikely two legislators, state Reps. Mike Reynolds and Mike Ritze, will be able to change the case, despite their letter asking the state Supreme Court to get involved. He said likewise for Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s investigation into the issue, which he suspects involves seeing whether the district attorney could have charged Earls with something else.

"That would likely be the position of any defense attorney. It’s his duty to defend his client,” Charlie Price, Edmondson’s spokesman, said in a statement. "Our duty in this case is twofold, and we are looking into the situation from both a factual standpoint and a legal one.

"Our investigators are following up on information we have received, and our attorneys are reviewing all legal authorities. It is too early to predict where this inquiry will lead us.”

Girl’s testimony was key to decision
Mills said the plea bargain was fair based on the evidence, testimony and the strength of the district attorney’s case. Ongoing coverage: David Harold Earls Comment on this case

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