A motion to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against a Texas woman was denied Friday in Pittsburg County District Court.
Attorneys for Brenda Savage, 56, of Del Valle, Texas, filed a motion to dismiss after a January trial in the case ended in a mistrial before a jury was seated to begin hearing opening statements and testimony.
Savage was charged in January 2019 with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 40-year-old Bart Jameson at a McAlester residence.
Her defense team, comprised of local attorneys Brecken Wagner and Blake Lynch, claimed double jeopardy in the case after a judge declared a mistrial in January.
Pittsburg County Associate District Judge Tim Mills denied the motion to dismiss Friday after receiving briefs from both the defense and the prosecution. Mills also denied a motion for default judgement filed by the defense claiming prosecutors missed a filing deadline.
“It doesn’t matter what I say, ever,” Wagner said after the ruling. “I can file all the motions, all the law and put everything in there and everything is based on case law and statute.”
Wagner said he was going to take Mills’ ruling to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
“We’re going to first attempt an extraordinary writ to try and put a stop to this prosecution because at this point, it’s illegal,” Wagner said.
District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Adam Scharn said Wagner’s default judgement motion was a misstatement of the law.
“Default judgement is a civil procedure found in statute,” Scharn said. “I don’t believe such a statue exists in the Oklahoma Criminal Code.”
Scharn said the case law cited by the defense regarding double jeopardy attached after a jury was sworn in for voir dire was overturned a few years later after it was first decided.
“I don’t believe, even in front of the Court of Criminal Appeals, the defendant is going to prevail on the merits,” said Scharn. “All of the case law supports my argument which is that swearing a jury pool so a jury can be selected is not the same as picking a jury and swearing them in and starting the case. That’s when jeopardy attaches.”
Scharn said if the defense’s logic was followed “whether it’s a public intoxication or a first-degree murder and everything in between, a defendant can simply demand a trial, swear in a jury pool to start jury selection then commit egregious misconduct and cause the state to move for a mistrial then jeopardy attaches and they walk away having gotten away from it.”
“I don’t think the Court of Criminal Appeals is ready to adopt that logic,” said Scharn.
Outside of the Pittsburg County Courthouse, supporters of the Jameson family held signs demanding justice for not only Bart Jameson, but for other victims of homicide in the county.
“We’re just really sick and tired of everybody not being prosecuted,” said protest organizer Kim Ott.
Ott said the amount of people accused of violent crimes that are walking free and the ones that have yet to be arrested is a danger to the area.
“It’s dangerous and it’s horrible for our county,” said Ott.
Ott said the group was as large as 40 people on Friday morning and included members of the Jameson family. She said another protest was being organized in support of the Jaylen Nelson family, a 16-year-old who was fatally shot and killed in June 2019.
Contact Derrick James at email@example.com