Woman jailed as witness in Fairmont Terrace killings
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor and JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 3:54 PM
Continuing coverage: Read more articles, view documents, videos and photos on Fairmont Terrace here.
A woman has been jailed as a material witness in a quadruple homicide case and all records related to the case were sealed until today, a Tulsa World investigation shows.
The woman has been in the Tulsa Jail since Jan. 11 but -- until the order filed today -- no public records were available that identified her or showed whether she has been charged with a crime.
Court records identify the woman as Susie Pauline Canady, 25, and state she is “a witness to material facts associated with an ongoing homicide investigation.”
State law allows officials to hold a person who is a material witness to a crime if the witness is believed to have information and is not cooperative or is a flight risk. It is unclear how long authorities are allowed to hold people in such cases.
Canady is not charged with a crime and is not expected to be charged in the case, her attorney told the World.
Canady is being held as a material witness in the killings of four women in a Tulsa apartment complex Jan. 7. Several officials attended a Thursday morning conference on the case in Associate Tulsa County District Judge Dana Kuehn's chambers to discuss whether to unseal records in the case.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said the case was sealed to protect the integrity of the investigation and to protect the material witness. Drummond filed a request Thursday to unseal the records, which was granted by Kuehn.
Also at the meeting in the judge's chambers were Tulsa County Undersheriff Tim Albin and Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. Canady’s name did not appear on records of prisoners being held in the Tulsa Jail as of Thursday afternoon.
Tulsa attorney Stephen Lee confirmed he is representing Canady.
“She’s just been held on a material witness warrant which they can do for numerous reasons. They can hold somebody on a material witness warrant for a long time if they want to,” Lee said.
Lee said he does not believe Canady will be charged and said he doesn’t have specific information about why all records in the case were ordered sealed. He said he there could be a threat to her safety due to the nature of the crime and the violent area in which it occurred.
Records show Canady lists an address in Vinita in her application to obtain a court-appointed attorney.
Lee said he doesn’t know when Canady will be released.
“We’ve had some discussions but that’s about as far as I can go on that … It will depend on a couple of factors that we can’t get into at the moment.”
Records show Kuehn ordered all documents related to the case sealed Jan. 11. Kuehn issued an order to unseal the case about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, records show.
A docket in the case shows prosecutors made a “criminal miscellaneous initial filing” on Jan. 11 and filed an application to seal the records. Kuehn agreed to the request that day.
Other activity in the case includes records of court actions filed under seal on Jan. 22 and Feb. 4. A “pauper’s affidavit” was filed Feb. 4, indicating that the witness had no money to hire an attorney.
Records show the Tulsa County Public Defender’s office was briefly appointed to represent Canady but had to withdraw due to a conflict of interest.
In an application to seal records in the case filed Jan. 11, Kunzweiler states: “The Tulsa Police Department has expressed that there are significant concerns for the protection of this witness as well as preserving the integrity of evidence associated with the ongoing investigation.”
The application goes on to state that “records related to the arrest of a material witness exist and present a legitimate cause for concern if disclosed.”
The application and Kuehn’s order, filed before arrests were made in the case, makes no mention of any specific information regarding threats to Canady. Other records indicate police may doubt the credibility of her statements.
In a filing related to the killings, prosecutors indicated they had discussed the case with a witness, who had not been publicly identified.
“As the investigation has unfolded, detectives are still working to determine the veracity of this particular witness’ statements to police. Her name has not yet been released publicly,” states the Feb. 7 filing by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. That motion was a filing in which prosecutors said they did not object to a bond decrease for Freddie Allen Hayes, who was once suspected of involvement in the case but has since been cleared, records show.
The slayings at Fairmont Terrace, near 61st street and Peoria Avenue, have focused attention on rampant crime and related issues in publicly funded housing in the area.
Misty Nunley, 33; Julie Jackson, 55; Rebeika Powell, 23; and Kayetie Powell Melchor, 23, were found shot to death in an apartment at the complex Jan. 7. The deaths bring the number of people who died violently in the complex in the last two years to eight.
James Stanford Poore, 32, and Cedric Dwayne Poore, 39, are in the Tulsa Jail on complaints that include four first-degree murder counts each. Charges have not yet been filed.
James Poore was arrested Feb. 7 while Cedric Poore was arrested Jan. 14 on warrants. They both were staying at Fairmont Terrace but were not on the apartment lease and did not comply with apartment requirements to register as visitors.
Cedric Poore received a 35-year prison term in 1995 in Tulsa County for armed robbery and was released from prison March 14, 2011. He was scheduled to be on probation until 2017. He received a one-year suspended sentence in October on a charge of obstructing an officer.
Cedric Poore’s plea in that case could have returned him to prison before the slayings, a World investigation has found. It took about two months for paperwork requesting a warrant revoking his parole to make it through the Department of Corrections system. Two weeks after the warrant was issued, he was arrested -- days after the four women were slain.
Check back at tulsaworld.com for updates to this story.
Clockwise from left: Misty Nunley, 33; Julie Jackson, 55; Rebeika Powell, 23; and Kayetie Powell Melchor, 23, were found shot to death in an apartment at Fairmont Terrace on Monday, Jan. 7.