McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 6, 2013

Change at the DA's office

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — Wes Cherry, who served as an assistant district attorney in McAlester for the past two years, is no longer with the DA’s office.

District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward, who covers Pittsburg and Haskell counties, confirmed the matter.

“I told him his services were no longer needed at the DA’s office,” Ward said. “It was just that I wanted a different type of prosecution than he was doing.”

Asked to elaborate, Ward said, “There were different views on how to handle cases.

“I’m looking for prosecutors that will support victims and be supportive of law enforcement,” he said.

Ward had not filled the assistant district attorney’s position as of early Wednesday afternoon.

Cherry was let go on Friday.

Cherry had come to the District 18 District Attorney’s office from Poteau, where he had also served as an assistant prosecutor.

The News-Capital also spoke with Cherry on Wednesday. He said he had spent the entire three years of his career as an assistant prosecutor: A year in Poteau at the District 16 District Attorney’s office, followed by his two years in McAlester with the District 18 office.

Asked if he had been given a reason for his termination, Cherry said, “Anytime an elected official lets somebody go, there’s never a reason given.”

“I didn’t ask him why; it was none of my business.”

“We’re ‘at-will” employees,” Cherry said, meaning that assistant district attorneys serve at the will of the district attorney who hires them and who holds the office.

He also spoke of his former employer.

“Farley’s a good guy and I like him,” Cherry said. “I enjoyed working for him for two years.”

Cherry is the third assistant district attorney to be terminated while Ward has served as District 18 district attorney.

Former Assistant District Attorney Michael Miller was terminated from the office and is now facing a conspiracy charge stemming from an Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury indictment in connection with a probe into District 18 Drug Court.

Last year, former First Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull was also terminated from the District 18 District Attorney’s office.

Although Cherry is no longer with the DA’s office, he may still be seen around the Pittsburg County Courthouse in the future.

“I’m going into private practice,” said Cherry, who said he intends to stay in McAlester.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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