NORMAN — A man described by a criminal profiler as a serial killer pleaded guilty Wednesday to the November stabbing death of retired social worker Clair Owen Pollard.
Billy Dean Battenfield, who had been convicted of three murders before Wednesday, was sentenced by a Cleveland County judge to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In court, the 59-year-old Battenfield confirmed that a signed statement about his involvement in the slaying was true.
The statement indicated he assisted an accomplice, Brandon Reed, but that he wasn't the aggressor in the killing.
Reed, who testified against Battenfield in July, gave a conflicting account of what happened the night Pollard was killed.
Pollard, who was 80, died of multiple stab wounds and was severely beaten before he died. Reed also testified that he tried to suffocate the victim but failed.
District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who had been seeking the death penalty before Battenfield's guilty plea, expressed some disappointment with the deal.
“I'm satisfied with the outcome and I know he's going to be locked up and die in prison,” Mashburn said. “It's just not going to be as soon as we'd all like for it to happen.”
Prosecutors had reached a deal with Reed before Battenfield's July 12 preliminary hearing.
Reed, 20, testified against his accomplice that day, but his credibility was thrown into question when he admitted — during his testimony — that he was hallucinating and often saw dead people.
Mashburn indicated that Reed's testimony may have led to the deal with Battenfield.
“I'm frustrated with the situation, frustrated with how the preliminary hearing went, but in the end, we're stuck with the cards we're dealt and the evidence that we have,” he said. “We felt that based on the strength of the case that this was going to be resolution to the case.”
Battenfield, who was convicted of murders in New Mexico and Texas prior his guilty plea Wednesday, was described by criminal profiler Greg McCrary as a serial killer.
“In general, the rule is three murders ... plus a cooling-off period ... means the guy is a serial killer,” McCrary said.
“If somebody has three murder convictions and they've been arrested for a fourth, you can classify them as a serial killer.”
Victim known to be generous
Pollard was a retired social worker with ties to the University of Oklahoma. Before that, he was a longtime resident of Maine.
Friends and family members described Pollard as a generous man who often reached out to those in need.
None of Pollard's family members gave a victim impact statement following Battenfield's guilty plea, although the judge offered to let them do so.