Tulsa apartment killings: Slow arrest warrant kept felon free
BY CARY ASPINWALL World Staff Writer
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 7:10 AM
Get the latest news on the Fairmont Terrace homicides: Read coverage of the apartment complex killings and on other homicides in the area nearby.
With Oklahoma's corrections system relying largely on paper records that are mailed between offices, it took more than two months for officials to obtain a warrant for a convicted felon who violated his parole and is now accused of killing four women just days before he returned to jail, a Tulsa World investigation has found.
Cedric Dwayne Poore, one of two gunmen police have accused of a January quadruple homicide, was arrested Jan. 14 - seven days after the women were slain - for violating the terms of his parole.
The violation occurred after Poore was convicted of a misdemeanor in Tulsa County District Court on Oct. 8, 2012, but the paperwork took a long, slow path from Tulsa to Oklahoma City and back through the U.S. mail.
The warrant to revoke his parole - which had been approved by Gov. Brad Henry and Gov. Mary Fallin - and send him back to prison was issued on Dec. 28, according to Department of Corrections records.
On Jan. 7, Misty Nunley, 33; Julie Jackson, 55; and 23-year-old twin sisters Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Powell Melchor were shot to death at Fairmont Terrace, a federally subsidized apartment complex near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.
Cedric Poore and his brother James Poore remain held without bond at the Tulsa Jail in connection with the slayings.
Probation and parole officers in the Tulsa County district office wrote a report requesting a warrant to revoke Cedric Poore's parole a few days after his October misdemeanor conviction for obstructing an officer, records show.
But a process of revisions and approvals meant the paper records were not finalized and mailed to the Oklahoma City office until Dec. 11, said Kathy King, assistant district supervisor.
About two weeks after the approved warrant was returned by mail to the district office, Cedric Poore was arrested, and officials prepared to return him to the Department of Corrections' Lexington Assessment and Reception Center from the Tulsa Jail, unaware of the role police believe he played in the quadruple homicide.
Poore was paroled in 2011 after serving less than half of an original 35-year sentence for armed robbery.
After receiving a unanimous recommendation by the Pardon and Parole Board in December 2009, his parole was approved by Gov. Brad Henry on June 3, 2010, with a requirement that he first serve time at lower security levels, officials said. Ultimately, it was Gov. Mary Fallin who signed his parole certificate in March 2011, records show.
Fallin's spokesman, Alex Weintz, said that upon leaving office, Henry failed to properly file Poore's parole with the Secretary of State's office. Fallin completed that process for Poore and other parolees approved by Henry, Weintz said.
"My heart breaks for the victims of these terrible murders. I am praying for them and their families," Fallin said in a statement Thursday.
"The Tulsa Police Department has the full support of my office as they work to bring the killers of Misty Nunley, Julie Jackson, Rebeika Powell, and Kayetie Powell Melchor to justice."
Fallin said not long after taking office in 2011 that she was scrutinizing hundreds of paroles that Henry had already granted. Because Henry was no longer governor by the time the stack of approved paroles reached the office, Fallin's office said she would review them again to determine whether they should be approved, news accounts state.
In April 2011, Fallin's staff said she was continuing to review the cases but had denied 38 paroles granted by Henry.
Cedric Poore's parole was among the paroles granted by Fallin that were also signed by Henry.
He was paroled after serving 16 years of a 35-year sentence for a 1995 armed robbery in Tulsa County.
His 1995 conviction occurred before the Oklahoma Legislature passed the 85 percent rule, mandating that offenders convicted of specific violent crimes, including armed robbery, serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Under the 85 percent rule, he would have had to serve an additional 13 years before parole eligibility.
James Poore was denied parole by Fallin on June 6, 2011. He completed his sentence and was released in December 2011 to serve the five-year probation portion of his sentence.
Police said the Poore brothers had been staying at Fairmont Terrace at the time the women were slain. The complex's manager said the men were not registered as residents or guests.
Both men listed an address in the 2500 block of North Boston Avenue with their supervision officers, King said.
For both probation and parole, an initial home visit by the supervising officer is required within the first 45 days after an offender reports to the supervision office after his or her release from prison, King said. Further visits to verify where the offender is living are not required, unless the offender fails to report to the office for a required appointment.
"From what I understand, both of them were reporting in for monthly visits with their officers," King said.
Records at the Tulsa County district supervision office showed that Cedric Poore was required to be on a GPS ankle monitor for six months after his release. He produced paycheck stubs from jobs at the Waffle House and a construction job for a while but was unemployed at the time of his arrest. He told officers he had been accepted into vocational school.
James Poore's only recent employment was listed as the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit organization that aims to help convicts with jobs and training. He was frequently absent, so his participation in the program was terminated, King said.
Records show that James Poore last checked in with his probation officer on Jan. 29 - about three weeks after the women were slain.
Sometimes, felons under her office's supervision will use a family member's address for the home visit and reporting purposes but end up living elsewhere, King said.
"We're working with some people that are masters at gaming everybody, so we're not immune to it," she said. "We just do the best we can with what information we can get."
In emergency situations, probation and parole officers can get a warrant revoking parole faster by calling the parole administration office in Oklahoma City. In that case, obtaining a warrant would take hours instead of weeks - but it has to be for a public safety threat, not something such as a misdemeanor conviction, King said.
She couldn't say whether an electronic records system might avoid some of the pitfalls and delays of mailing paper records back and forth.
"I don't know if that would speed the process up or not, actually," she said. "It's improved over the years."
Weintz said: "The timeline presented by the Tulsa World clearly indicates that the system needs to be improved."
"Governor Fallin absolutely supports improving and speeding up communications between the Department of Corrections and local law enforcement," he said.
Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said he wasn't sure whether it is a system that uses paper records or the volume of paper records that DOC contends with that causes delays.
"It would be nice if you had electronic data. That would certainly speed some things up and improve communication," Massie said. "But that takes a fairly sizable investment in money, time and training."
The Poore brothers' prison records
Both Cedric and James Poore had extensive lists of misconducts while in prison, records show.
Cedric Poore: Served time at more than five different facilities since 1995. He received misconducts for smoking, beating up another inmate and a positive drug test during his incarceration. His most serious offense stemmed from a 2005 riot at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, in which one inmate was killed.
Adam Lippert, who was serving time on a Lincoln County drug conviction, was pronounced dead at a Cushing hospital after being beaten and stabbed numerous times by a group of black inmates, records show. Lippert sported "white pride" and United Aryan Brotherhood tattoos, prison records show.
Court records state that the fight occurred when "more than forty black inmates" rushed a group of white inmates and started "beating them with bats and horseshoes."
Video of the fight and officers who witnessed it stated that Cedric Poore - whose prison nickname was "Insane" - was one of the assailants. A charge of first-degree murder, later amended to rioting, was filed against him in Payne County but was later dismissed.
James Poore: His most recent and severe misconducts were while serving time at Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy. In 2009, he got caught selling or trading an ink pen containing prescription pills to another inmate, was caught in possession of a "green leafy substance" presumed to be marijuana and was also caught with a cell phone.
Other misconducts included cursing at officers, failing to obey orders, failing to show up for a required meeting, interfering with the prisoner count, and battery of another inmate on two separate instances.
Source: Oklahoma Department of Corrections records
1995: Cedric Poore convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 35 years in prison
March 2011: Paroled
Oct. 8, 2012: Misdemeanor conviction
Oct. 22: Parole officer asks for parole revocation
Dec. 11: Finalized revocation documents sent to parole administration office in Oklahoma City
Dec. 28: Arrest warrant issued
Jan. 7: Quadruple homicide
Jan. 14: Cedric Poore arrested
Original Print Headline: Slow arrest warrant kept felon free
Cary Aspinwall 918-581-8477