A McAlester man was indicted by a multicounty grand jury three months after his original charges were dismissed in district court.
Chris Hill, 40, was indicted by the Eighteenth Multicounty Grand Jury for alleged distribution of controlled dangerous substance within 2000 feet of recreation area and/or park, unlawful possession of controlled drug with intent to distribute, and misdemeanor unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, according to documents filed Friday in Pittsburg County District Court.
Records show Hill was released from the Pittsburg County Jail after posting a $25,000 bond through a bondswoman.
Court documents show Hill was initially charged in June 2019 with distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, unlawful possession of controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
District 18 Special District Judge Brian McLaughlin ruled a video of a confidential informant making a purchase from Hill was admissible as evidence but found that if the informant did not cooperate, what was said in the video could be ruled hearsay.
“We had concerns it would be ruled hearsay and we wouldn’t be able to get the video admitted as evidence and meet our burden,” said District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Adam Scharn.
Court records show the informant did not cooperate with prosecutors and the case was dismissed in August 2020.
The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office will now handle the prosecution of the case in light of the indictments.
A probable cause affidavit filed in the case states the informant allegedly purchased oxycodone from Hill at a business Hill owns in downtown McAlester.
A search warrant was executed on the business after the purchase and investigators were told by Hill “the only thing he had” was marijuana, the report states.
During the search, investigators found 3.85 ounces of marijuana and 28 oxycodone pills, with Hill having a considerable amount of cash on him when he was being booked into the Pittsburg County Jail, the affidavit states.
Court records show the Eighteenth Multicounty Grand Jury was convened in March at the Oklahoma County Courthouse in Oklahoma City presided by Oklahoma District Court Judge Timothy Henderson.
The grand jury is charged with the responsibility of investigation into all 77 counties of the state, and all manner and grade of crimes constituting public offenses under the laws of the state of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury is composed of ordinary citizens from across the state who do not decide guilt or innocence, but rather, determine whether there is sufficient evidence which, if explained or uncontradicted and presented in court to a jury of one’s peers, would prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
When there is sufficient evidence of both type and quality, the grand jury’s responsibility is to bring an indictment, or accusation of a crime, so that the state may require the indicted to face his accusers and stand trial.
State statutes state the grand jury’s work is to be kept secret, except when ordered by the court. There is no law that states witnesses cannot publicize their testimony if they choose, unless the presiding judge orders otherwise.
Witnesses who appear before the grand jury can have a lawyer present to advise them, but the lawyer cannot object to grand jury questions or make arguments to the grand jury.
A representative of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office presents evidence to the grand jury and questions witnesses. If the grand jury issues an indictment, the defendant is prosecuted in the district court where the indictment is filed.
Multi-county grand jurors are paid $20 per day, plus reimbursement for meals and mileage and are chosen from a statewide list.
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