(Stillwater, Okla.) – Charges have been dismissed against seven convicts accused of participating in a fatal gang-related riot between the Irish Mob and the Universal Aryan Brotherhood at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing on Sept. 12, 2015, in which four inmates died from stab wounds, court records show.
The slain inmates were identified as Anthony Fulwider, 31; Kyle Tiffee, 23; Christopher Tignor, 29; and Michael Edwin Mayden Jr., 26.
When Payne County Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler dismissed the case against Phillip Wayne Jordan Jr., 34, last week, two women sitting in the front row of the courtroom suddenly clapped and were ordered to leave the courtroom. Jordan merely smiled.
Jordan’s court-appointed attorney, Jodie Gage, successfully argued to the judge that there was “absolutely no evidence (at a preliminary hearing) to tie Mr. Jordan to this crime.”
“The evidence was a video played without any dialogue. There was no testimony as to who was in the video,” Gage argued, adding that a still shot was offered into evidence without proper authority.
“Both the video and the still shot are blurry. The evidence is terrible. It does not address the elements of the crime. The state claims guilt by association. The preliminary hearing was devoid of testimony my client did anything to anyone,” Gage successfully argued.
In ruling that the case against Jordan was insufficient to proceed to a trial, the judge said, “The evidence presented at the preliminary hearing was minimal. I found the video almost worthless. There was no testimony what they saw this defendant do — except stand at a stairwell.”
The riot was investigated by Oklahoma Department of Corrections Agent Robert L. Hert III, who wrote in an affidavit filed on April 19, 2017, “on Sept. 12, 2015, a fight occurred on Unit C-North between inmates validated as or associated with security threat groups, Irish Mob and Universal Aryan Brotherhood.”
All of the convicts accused of participating in the fatal riot at the Cushing private prison were alleged to have been “validated as or associated with Irish Mob,” according to the affidavit.
After the case against Jordan was dismissed by the judge, District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas dropped the charges against the other six convicts, Gage Broom, 26; Korey L. Kruta, 29; James Augustine Placker, 30; Jordan James Scott, 26; Steven Ray Thompson, 32; and Johnathan Richard Whittington, 28.
In her motions to dismiss, the DA said, “At the time of the filing of the charges, the investigative report confirmed each defendant could be identified as a participant in the riot by employees of the correctional facility.
“There are multiple defendants charged in the riot. Some defendants have had preliminary hearings at which the ability of employee/witnesses to identify individuals became questionable at best.
“A critical witness, a guard in an unrelated matter, was charged with bringing contraband into the prison.
“As the state was preparing motions to dismiss due to current insufficient evidence to pass beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof,” the case against Jordan was before Judge Kistler, “who sustained a motion to quash as to the defendant in that companion case, based in part on the lack of positive identification of each defendant and lack of ability of witnesses to identify with any certainty what actions each defendant took.
“Each of the riot cases stand on the same evidence as the other,” the DA added in asking that all the cases be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
According to state Department of Corrections records:
* Jordan, who is now being held at the Lawton Correctional Facility in Lawton, is serving a 15-year prison term for second-degree burglary, attempted grand larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2014 in Oklahoma County, apparently after completing 10-year concurrent prison terms for domestic violence and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 2006 in Oklahoma County and seven-year concurrent prison terms for first-degree burglary and car theft in 2005 in Oklahoma County;
* Broom, who is now being held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, is serving a 20-year prison term for first-degree manslaughter in 2009 in Wagoner County;
* Kruta, who was released from prison in June 2017, served about three years of a six-year term for methamphetamine possession in 2014 in Oklahoma County, apparently after completing four-year concurrent terms for kidnapping, first-degree burglary and attempted robbery by two or more persons in 2009 in Oklahoma County;
* Placker, who was released from prison in September 2017, served about 20 months of a five-year term for carrying a weapon, drugs or alcohol into a jail in Woodward County in 2013, apparently after completing nine-year concurrent terms for methamphetamine possession in 2008 and 2009 in Oklahoma County and five-year concurrent terms for concealing stolen property in 2007 and 2006 in Oklahoma County and concurrent seven-year terms for second-degree burglary and second-degree forgery in 2007 in Oklahoma County;
* Scott, who was released from prison in September 2017, served about three years of concurrent five-year prison terms in 2016 for possession of a firearm while on supervision in 2014, second-degree burglary in 2013, possession of a stolen vehicle in 2013, and second-degree burglary in 2012, all in LeFlore County;
* Thompson, who is now being held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, is serving a sentence of life without parole for first-degree murder in 2013 in Grady County;
* Whittington, who is now being held at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Lexington, is serving a 20-year term for attempted robbery with an imitation weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and first-degree burglary in 2014 in Canadian County after being paroled in 2008 from North Carolina on robbery, first-degree burglary and larceny convictions.