Sheriff Chris Morris

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photo

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris is shown in this file photo attending a recent meeting of the Pittsburg County commissioners.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into an alleged domestic incident at the home of Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris, while Morris maintains the probe will come up empty-handed.

Asked about the matter, Morris denied that the alleged domestic incident occurred.

"There is no truth to that at all," Morris said Monday.

"There's no crime and no victim," he said.

Meanwhile, the OSBI confirmed Monday an investigation is ongoing.

"We still have an open investigation," said Adam Whitney, an OSBI special agent who this week is serving as the agency's public information officer .

The OSBI was asked to enter the investigation into a reported disturbance at the sheriff's residence on the night of Jan. 15.

Whitney confirmed the OSBI began the investigation at the request of District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan in McAlester. On Jan. 16, 2019, the Pittsburg County District Attorney's office requested that the OSBI investigate the sheriff for an alleged domestic incident, Whitney said.

Asked who the alleged victim was, Whitney said "I can't go into specifics."

Whitney said when the investigation is complete, the results will be turned over to the appropriate authorities.

Morris remained adamant there is nothing to investigate.

"There's no crime and no victim," Morris said.

Asked if he's talked to any investigators, Morris said he has not.

Morris also said he's retained an attorney. Asked why he's retained an attorney, Morris said because of "harassment." The sheriff's attorney was reportedly in court on other matters Monday afternoon and a phone call to his office was not immediately returned.

The News-Capital requested a copy of any police incident reports related to a McAlester police response at the sheriff's residence on the night of Jan. 15, 2019, but McAlester Police Det. Capt. Don Hass said there is no report. He did confirm that police responded to a call regarding the sheriff's residence on the night of Jan. 15.

Hass said no one was at the sheriff's residence when McAlester police arrived. He said that since nobody was at home, no report was made.

"Everybody was gone," Hass said. "We did not make a report."

On Monday, Morris pointed to the lack of a police report from the MPD to back up his contention that the allegations under investigation never occurred.

"There's nothing like that ever happened," Morris said. "There's never been a report filed."

Morris accused the OSBI of harassment in the matter.

"There's a lot of hearsay and a lot of rumor," Morris said.

Meanwhile, the News-Capital has obtained documents related to the situation under the Oklahoma Open Records Act. The records show that several agencies are involved in the matter, although not all are at investigatory level.

One of the letters obtained through the Open Records Act is a letter sent by Sullivan to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's Office. Sullivan said he wrote the letter after he was told McAlester police had responded to a call on the night of Jan. 15 regarding the sheriff's residence. Sullivan declined to say what the allegations were, but he said he determined his office should not be involved because as the district attorney, he represents the sheriff in his official capacity.

The Jan. 23 letter Sullivan sent to the attorney general's office states:

"Please let this letter serve as my request to recuse out of any involvement in the current O.S.B.I. investigation into Sheriff Morris from the events alleged to have happened on or about January 15, 2019," Sullivan wrote in the brief letter.

Dawn Cash, the first assistant attorney general for the AG's office, responded to Sullivan with a letter dated Jan. 24.

Writing to Sullivan, Cash said she was granting Sullivan's request to recuse himself and was appointing District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp to handle the matter. Thorp's district covers Adair, Cherokee, Wagoner and Sequoyah counties.

Cash instructed Sullivan to "Please make arrangements with Jack Thorp, District Attorney, District 27, for the transfer of all files and reports related to said matter."

Also through the Open Records Act, the News-Capital acquired a copy of the letter from the attorney general's office to Thorp.

In the letter, First Assistant AG Cash officially notifies Thorp that "you or your designated Assistant District Attorney are hereby appointed to prosecute this case as you deem appropriate and in the best interest of justice."

She also advised Thorp to make arrangements with Sullivan to retrieve the necessary files and reports related to the matter.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com and Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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