Search warrant affidavits filed this week allege a Delaware County attorney directed a convicted murderer and client to either carry out or plan violent attacks against at least two people he believed harmed those close to him in some way.
Winston Connor, 54, faces a 10-count indictment from Oklahoma’s multicounty grand jury, including charges of solicitation for first-degree murder, witness tampering, assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawfully communicating with a convict.
Some of the charges stem from an investigation into the years-long operation of Tulsa massage businesses that authorities claim were fronts for the sex industry. Others relate to Connor’s relationship with Slint Tate, a Grove man who received life without parole for a 2001 Rogers County murder conviction.
Connor’s defense attorney hasn’t yet commented on the newly public documents but is expected to respond either before or during a scheduled bond reduction hearing for Connor on Wednesday. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has also declined to comment on its filing of the indictment or the revelations contained in court documents.
Authorities arrested Connor Jan. 12 in North Carolina upon his return to the United States from a vacation, and he was released from jail there after posting a $10,000 bond.
A search warrant filed Thursday in Delaware County District Court states police started looking into Connor after intercepting phones Tate used while imprisoned at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Tate’s father helped Connor reach his son on the contraband device, which eventually led to Tate and others facing drug-related charges for operating a methamphetamine ring from prison that brought in as much as $1 million a week in proceeds.
In one of the conversations, Connor and Tate discuss Sterling Williams, another inmate imprisoned for rape and murder. Connor had a relationship with a woman victimized by Williams, according to the warrant, “and the two speak cryptically about Tate orchestrating the murder of Williams in prison.” Oklahoma Department of Corrections personnel placed Williams in protective custody after learning of the conversation.
The warrant says Tate later messaged his wife and told her Connor was going to help him get out of prison but that he would have to kill someone.
Kenny Wright, the district attorney for Delaware and Ottawa counties, has said Tate made it apparent he understood Connor’s account of the situation to him as “a request to murder the guy and began taking steps toward accomplishing that goal.” Wright, who faces a libel suit from Connor, is not listed as an investigator in the grand jury indictment or in the search warrant documents.
Reported directive to attack man over vehicle taken in drug transaction
The warrant also reveals a man tied to an Aryan gang in Iowa began working with Tate upon his arrival in Oklahoma and sold methamphetamine to a relative of Connor’s secretary. The relative, according to the document, took the secretary’s car in lieu of money for the purchase of the drug, which prompted a conversation between Connor and his secretary about the situation.
The warrant states Connor then called Tate and “enlisted the help of Slint Tate and his organization” to recover the vehicle to “send a message” to gang member Dakota Brown to “not mess with his people.” Connor also had possession of Brown’s phone, which contained evidence of his work for Tate, prompting Connor to tell Tate he would destroy it.
“In the call, Connor says he would appreciate it if it were extreme, referring to the message delivered to Dakota Brown,” the report says. “During the conversation between Connor and Slint Tate, Connor offers to help Slint Tate with legal matters in exchange for the ‘Tate Gang’ helping him.”
Wright previously released copies to the Tulsa World and other media of recorded phone calls between Tate and Connor, whose communications were the subject of a Tulsa World investigation. The call about the cellphone was among those provided.
In another call about Brown, Tate tells associates they need to “find Dakota, get the car and smash him out,” which the attorney general’s office interpreted as an order to beat Brown. Tate, authorities say, directed the associates to record the attack and told them it is for Connor, who would begin representing members of the drug enterprise again.
“Dakota Brown was physically attacked by members of the Tate gang twice,” the document says. “Slint Tate sent the video of the attack to Connor, to which Connor responded with a ‘thumbs up’ emoji.”
Allegations of interfering in divorce case involving his client
In another incident, officers claim Connor called another attorney to threaten a man who was in a relationship with one of the attorney’s clients in a divorce case. The attorney testified before the grand jury and said the woman’s estranged husband began stalking her, and that he was charged with first-degree burglary after threatening the woman and her boyfriend at his home.
Connor represented the estranged husband.
“Winston Connor called (the attorney) and told him the criminal charges needed to go away or Connor was going to ‘take out’ (the boyfriend,)” the warrant states. “Connor made a direct threat that he was going to ruin (the boyfriend’s) dentistry practice and told (the attorney) he needed to make sure (the woman) knew that.”
The divorce lawyer alleged Connor told him the woman could have the home and other property in the divorce if she would make the criminal case go away. In a subsequent conversation between Connor and the woman, he told her that her lawyer didn’t have best interests at heart and that after looking into her boyfriend’s practice, he would “destroy him.”
The woman’s lawyer said she told him she was terrified about what could happen to her boyfriend. She ultimately asked her lawyer to cancel a court appearance and have a protective order against her estranged husband dismissed. The woman reported Connor told her not to tell her lawyer about his request.
The case was dismissed and the record was expunged, according to the search warrant. The woman’s divorce proceeding is still pending in Ottawa County.