Kyle Eastridge identified four cases for The Oklahoman that he thinks were mishandled by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
• Wilfredo Osorio, 23.
Osorio was shot in Oklahoma City in November 1982. His body, dumped off a bridge over Bullfrog Creek near Pink, lodged in a tree, preventing it from entering the water.
He was identified by his fingerprints.
Eastridge said the case was solved at least seven years ago. Witnesses, DNA and other evidence linked a specific, named suspect to the crime.
In 2003, he said, OSBI agents presented the case to an Oklahoma County prosecutor. She thought it had merit. She told the agents to track down the witnesses and bring the case back to her for prosecution.
"The case changed hands when it was reassigned and never made it to the prosecutor," he said. "In 2010, I contacted the agent it had been reassigned to, and he did not know the case or that it was assigned to him. As a result, seven years have passed."
Jessica Brown, OSBI spokeswoman, said the Osorio case is in the hands of prosecutors.
"It wasn't us sitting on it," she said. "We gave over what we could. It wasn't up to us. It was up to the DA (district attorney) to determine if they wanted to file. It was out of our hands at that point."
Later, she said, agents developed more solid suspect information and took the case to prosecutors again.
"That case is still in the hands of the DA," she said.
District Attorney David Prater said his office does not have the case.
"The first thing I did was go over to the DA's office and asked them to dig through everything and see if they dropped the ball," Eastridge said. "They had no records of those charges ever being brought over."
• Melissa Ann Moore, 22.
Moore was last seen leaving a Tulsa sorority house in 1984. Four days later, she was reported missing. Her drowned body was found April 17, 1984, floating in a creek seven miles northwest of Pryor.
Eastridge said DNA was linked to a known suspect, who drove a car matching the description of one seen where Moore's body was dumped and where her car was found.
Brown said OSBI agents presented information to the Mayes County district attorney in 1985, 2002 and 2005.
"We have to leave it up to them whether or not they want to move on with the case," she said.
Mayes County District Attorney Gene Haynes could not be reached for comment.
Eastridge said he contacted the case agent and offered to help him get DNA testing done on any other items associated with the case. Because federal funding pays for the cold case unit in which Eastridge worked, testing gets done faster through the grant than through usual channels; lab workers collect overtime for running the cold case tests.
"The agent told me he did not have enough for a charge," he said. "He did not want others looking into this case and later called to complain" to Eastridge's supervisor, Agent-in-Charge Gary Perkinson.
"The bottom line is they've known who killed this girl for years," Eastridge said, "and he's never been arrested for it."
• Georgette Pless, 22
Pless disappeared from Tulsa on Nov. 27, 1992. Her nude, strangled body was found in Lincoln County.
On March 29, 2009, DNA from semen found in Pless' body was matched to a Missouri prisoner, Eastridge said.
"After the ... match, no activity was recorded on the case by the assigned agent until ... the assigned agent relinquished the case to me," Eastridge said. "And after approximately a month of follow-up, an arrest warrant was obtained and a murder charge was filed."
Dennis Ray Wright, 50, was charged with murder on May 19.
Eastridge criticized the case agent to The Oklahoman as "lazy" and "worthless."
"That's completely false," Brown said. "Completely. The only reason I can think he would say that is because he didn't see the complete file. He's speaking out of ignorance. ... There was no delay in running down leads."
She said "a great deal of work was done that he obviously doesn't know about."
Eastridge said he is familiar with everything that was done.
"I read the entire case file and in doing so know that the now-charged suspect was named as a potential suspect when the case was first being investigated by a deputy from Lincoln County," he said in an e-mail. "There is a report in the file to confirm this. After that same person was linked to the crime with DNA, nothing was done for nearly a year."
• Ola L. Kirk, 77.
Kirk was killed in her Geary home in 1983.
"We were told he crawled through a window in her kitchen, which was in the back of the house," said Lauren Layman, Kirk's great-granddaughter. "I know from a police report that he beat her and raped her after she had died. ... It was just brutal. Her arm where she put it up to protect her face was broken in three places."
A named suspect was linked by DNA to the killing in 1983, Eastridge said, but the Blaine County district attorney did not think the evidence was strong enough to warrant prosecution.
The suspect was not arrested. Later, he was convicted of rape and burglary in other cases.
"Had he gone to jail for my great-grandmother, if he was the one who did it, he wouldn't have been around to rape anyone else," said Layman, 37, of Oklahoma City. "Those people's lives would've been changed."
Eastridge said OSBI should've been more aggressive in pursuing charges.
"First, making an arrest can lead to unknown information or evidence that further strengthens a case," he said. "Second, it places a prosecutor in a position that a decision has to be made. More often than not, proceeding with a criminal case is the proper course."
Eastridge arrested the suspect in Kirk's slaying after discovering he had not registered as a sex offender. Lester Black Bear, 53, began serving a 3-year prison term this month.
Brown said it would be counterproductive for OSBI to strong-arm prosecutors.
"We are working for the district attorneys," she said. "They're the ones who request us to do the investigations. ... We're not a help to the public if we're fighting DA's."
Arresting suspects whom prosecutors don't intend to charge is morally wrong, said Jimmy Bunn Jr., OSBI's chief legal counsel.
"You're effectively stamping them with a guilty designation without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves," Bunn said.