Special Judge Stuart Tate on May 8 dismissed a multiple count burglary case filed in April 2017 in Osage County District Court, based on the fact that prosecutors did not meet a legal deadline to hold a trial for the suspect.
The case involved charges that a man identified as Russell Lee Brewer, 48, burglarized several businesses and community organizations in Skiatook.
Case paperwork lists Easky Construction, Skiatook Auto Lube, Robby’s Mowers and Trailers, K9 Karma, Wayne’s Auto Service, Millenium Community Services and Highwayman Signs as entities allegedly victimized.
As a result of a Skiatook Police Department investigation, six counts of second-degree burglary and one count of first-degree burglary were formally brought against Brewer.
According to police reports, Skiatook officers found a penlight at one of the burglary scenes, and from that light the Tulsa P.D. Forensic Lab was able to glean a positive DNA sample. That sample was reportedly matched through a DNA database to a man named Russell Lee Brewer.
Skiatook officers discovered that a Russell Lee Brewer was incarcerated in the Ellis County Jail in Hays, Kansas. They went there, took a DNA sample and collected his shoes as evidence based on suspicion that the patterns of their soles would match shoe prints at the Skiatook burglary scenes.
Once prosecutors in Osage County brought a case against Brewer, he took a step that put pressure on the prosecutors to try him as soon as possible.
Brewer invoked his rights under a law called the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act. The practical effect of his invocation of his rights was to give prosecutors in Osage County 180 days to bring him to Oklahoma and put him on trial.
That didn’t happen, which is why Judge Tate dismissed the case.
District Attorney Rex Duncan, whose office had responsibility for the case, lamented the outcome.
“That’s unfortunate, that in a property case we couldn’t get one of those tried,” Duncan said in a telephone interview Monday. He described the 180-day time period given under the law governing the Brewer case an “artificially short window” in which to bring the suspect to trial.
“Six months is artificially short, especially in a property crime,” Duncan said. He clarified that he did not blame Judge Tate for the outcome, given that the judge followed the law.
“I’m not taking issue with what the judge did,” Duncan said.
The burglary charges that were brought against Brewer have been dismissed “with prejudice,” which means they cannot be refiled against him.