A murder charge was dropped Thursday against a former Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested in January following a motel shooting on the city’s east side.
Warren Crittenden, 44, a former jailer and supervisor over TCSO’s reserve deputy program, found himself embroiled in two high-profile cases this year. In January, he and four others were arrested following the death of 33-year-old Michael Jones.
Crittenden was one of three charged with first-degree murder. The others, Dustin Ward, Kendrick Logan and Jerome Hardaway, await trial. A woman, Pamela Taylor, is awaiting trial on a charge of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.
Crittenden maintained that he was forced to go to the motel the night of Jones’ death — he was arrested after crashing his vehicle while speeding away. Brett Swab, Crittenden’s attorney, said following Thursday’s hearing that his client’s story was one that was “so crazy, no one believed it.”
“Part of the problem was his story was not corroborated in a timely manner,” Swab said. “District attorney’s office did all it could, there were some issues with getting the right people to look at the case … once that was done, the case moved forward and we ended up getting it dismissed.”
Two months after Crittenden was charged with murder, he was wrapped into another scandal. Robert Bates, a former TCSO reserve deputy under Crittenden, was arrested and charged with killing a man during a botched gun sting.
Bates, 74, said he intended use a Taser on Eric Harris that day, but instead drew his revolver and shot the tackled man once under the right armpit, killing him.
Numerous sources said following the shooting that it was not a secret within TCSO that Bates, a wealthy insurance executive and longtime friend of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, had not completed the training the sheriff’s office requires of its reserves. Daniel Smolen, an attorney who represents the Harris estate and once represented Crittenden in a civl lawsuit against TCSO, provided the media a joint statement from three former and current sheriff’s office officials to corroborate those claims.
Crittenden was one of the people who signed that statement.
TCSO officials responded by saying that Crittenden had a longtime grudge against the sheriff (he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in 2011,) and that, as a murder defendant, his statement essentially held no water.
Though Crittenden’s charge was dropped, District Judge William Musseman ordered the former deputy to be held on $100,000 bond as a material witness in the murder case. Brett Swab, Crittenden’s attorney, said he anticipated his client would post bond today, and would be fitted with an ankle monitor.
“He’ll cooperate and do what he needs to do,” Swab said.
In a motion for a bond reduction Swab filed on behalf of Crittenden in July, he said his client, jailed since Jan. 27, had already testified against his then-co-defendants in a preliminary hearing, and anticipated testifying against them in their eventual trials.
On Thursday, Swab said Crittenden had not been approached to testify in the ongoing grand jury investigation of the sheriff’s office, but would be “amenable” to a request. Crittenden had spoken to other investigators, Swab said, as numerous other investigations have taken place since Bates shot Harris in April.