Friday was the last day in office for District Attorney Chris Wilson, who begins working for the federal prosecutor’s office in Muskogee on Monday. And as he packed away some of the items in his office, he said he’s saddened and excited at the same time.

“I think we’ve done well,” Wilson said. “I couldn’t have done it without my staff.”

“We’ve lost very few trials,” he said. “During my three years in office — you can count the number of trials we’ve lost on both hands.” He said that’s due, in large part, to the efforts of people like Assistant District Attorneys Matt Dillon and Jimmy Harmon “Who are always prepared when they go in to a trial. I think this office has proven its competency and efficiency.”

During the 39 months Wilson has been the district attorney for Pittsburg and Haskell counties, his office has collected more than $1 million in bogus checks. “That’s what we collected for merchants,” he said. “That’s not counting the court fees that help fund the bogus check division.”

“I made a commitment during my campaign that my office would help merchants victimized by bogus check writers. My bogus check staff has done an outstanding job and they deserve recognition for this accomplishment.”

The bogus check division includes Satina Murdaugh, Tanya McClendon, Alfred Buller and Ed Balunas. “I believe we perform a great service to the merchants of our district and that makes coming to work a pleasure,” Murdaugh said. “Plus, I have great coworkers. Tanya, My assistant, and Al and Ed Balunas, my investigators, are super. We work well together as a team.”

“When I started, my office was facing double-digit reduction in state funding,” Wilson said. “If not for the efforts of my bogus check division, I would have been forced to lay off or furlough some employees.”

During his term as district attorney, Wilson said, he and his staff accomplished several firsts for District 18. Wilson was able to get the first life sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine ever given in Pittsburg County. He hosted the first Victims’ Rights Day ever held in the county and created the first district attorney supervision program to ensure offenders comply with court-ordered sentencing conditions.

“Before that, there was not supervision for people convicted of misdemeanors,” he said. “Basically you told them the conditions of probation and hoped they’d comply, but you didn’t have any real way of checking on them.”

The office also cracked down on drug offenders by seeking asset seizures and forfeitures. During Wilson’s three years in office, he was able to secure forfeitures for more than $310,000 in cash, 14 vehicles and 220 weapons.

Wilson said he’s especially proud of the fact that he’s pursued prosecuting those who commit crimes at the state prisons in Pittsburg County.

Although he’s been criticized by some for those prosecutions, the Department of Corrections recently said the prosecutions have been largely responsible for a dramatic decrease in violent offenses at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Wilson said of his new positions as an assistant U.S. attorney. “But at the same time I’m kind of sad to be leaving.”

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