OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction and 263-year prison sentence of a former Enid man and Oklahoma City Police Department officer convicted of rape and other sexual assaults Thursday morning. The court also denied a request for an evidentiary hearing in the case.

Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 32, has maintained his innocence. He's cited a lack of evidence, a "circus atmosphere" during his 2015 trial and his defense attorney's failure to show alternate ways DNA was found on his pants.

Holtzclaw's father, Eric, and sister, Jenny, both said Thursday they were "devastated" by the decision but not surprised. They said an appeal now will be sought in federal court.

Prosecutors accused Holtzclaw of targeting black women while on duty in 2013 and 2014. He was convicted on 18 of 36 charges involving 12 women and a teenage girl.

"They basically brushed aside the contentions we made as being unfounded, when in fact they were very relevant points to the case," Eric said of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

"We're going to start post-conviction here and bring it to the federal level. We want to take it out of Oklahoma as soon as possible," Jenny said. "I will keep on fighting until Daniel is free. I’m so passionate about this case not just because Daniel is my brother but because of the lack of evidence in this case."

Jenny said the family spoke with Daniel on Thursday and shared the court's decision with him.

"We’re going to keep fighting until Daniel is free. He’s innocent of all charges," Jenny said. "He is stronger than ever and he won’t ever give up. That’s what he wanted everyone to know — he will never give up."

Michelle Mal­kin, a journalist, columnist and No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, has taken up Holtzclaw's cause. She has featured his plight in “Michelle Malkin Investigates" a series aired on CRTV, a subscription-based conservative media outlet.

Special screenings of the show were held in Enid, with Malkin and other experts in the field of DNA speaking to attendees about the misleading evidence presented at trial.

Malkin gave an interview with Tulsa radio host Pat Campbell Thursday morning, shortly after the appeals court issued its ruling. 

"Obviously, I'm devastated," Malkin said. "I remain unshakable in my faith that Daniel is innocent of each and every allegation against him."

Malkin vowed to continue digging into the "systemic problem in the Oklahoma justice system."

In the opinion by Vice Presiding Judge Dana Kuehn, she noted the third proposition claimed Holtzclaw was denied a fair trail due to a "circus atmosphere"  but never requested a change of venue or courtroom.

"Sixty-six times throughout the trial, the trial court admonished jurors not to talk about the case or let anyone talk to them about it; to tell the bailiff if anyone approached them about the case, not to watch or read any news reports; and generally that all jurors' information about the case should come from the courtroom," according to the opinion.

The record shows that throughout the morning of the 10th day of trial people in the courtroom could clearly hear protesters outside the courthouse chanting, "Give him life" and other things," according to the opinion. "Defense counsel asked that the protestors be removed, but the trial court noted the protestors had a permit. Appellant (Holtzclaw) admits the trial court admonished jurors to disregard the chanting as irrelevant to the courtroom proceedings. He argues on appeal that the admonishment was 'likely ineffective.' This is just speculation, and the record does not support it."

The opinion addresses other incidents during the trial but noted, "... he makes no effort to show how his trial was rendered unfair by these incidents. He also failed to ask this Court to reverse his convictions, or for a new trial, based on his claim the trial was unfair."

The denial of the third proposition concludes, "The fact that Jurors acquitted Appellant of half the charges against him supports our conclusion that they were not improperly affected by events outside the courtroom."

A footnote in the 57-page opinion addresses a two-day meeting held after Holtzclaw's trial concerning DNA evidence in Holtzclaw's case and other cases handled by the OCPD's crime lab.

"After Appellant's trial had concluded and while this appeal was pending before this Court, we remanded this case for hearings tangentially connected with the DNA claims raised in this proposition. Neither those hearings, the issues they discussed, nor the contemporaneous and subsequent documents filed with this Court concerning them are relevant to the issues raised in either this appeal or Appellant's Rule 3.11(B) Application. We neither discuss nor consider them in determining the appeal or the Application."

In a specially concurring opinion, Presiding Judge David B. Lewis addressed the appeal's claim of an excessive sentence.

"This case involves a sexual predator who happened to be employed, most unfortunately, as an Oklahoma City police officer. He used his position of authority to intimidate and prey on vulnerable victims," Lewis wrote. "The facts and circumstances of this case, including his position of authority, the number of victims, and the callous nature of the offenses, dictate that consecutive sentences in his case are entirely appropriate. His arguments attacking the convictions are likewise unavailing."

Lewis also state's in his opinion, Holtzclaw never requested a separate trial for each of the 13 who made claims against him.

"Joinder was proper and he was not prejudiced by the joinder or failure to request severance of the charges," Lewis wrote. "These offenses show a pattern of sexual predation committed in similar ways, with similar intents, under similar circumstances. Joinder of these offenses was proper because the counts arose from the same type of offense occurring within a few months, in approximately the same area of the city, and the proof of each transaction overlapped as to show a common scheme or plan."

A post on the Free Daniel Holtzclaw Facebook page, maintained by family and supporters, shortly after the decision was issued read: "APPEAL: DENIED. WE WILL CONTINUE FIGHTING!!!!!!!!! #FreeDanielHoltzclaw."


Story Collection: Daniel Holtzclaw investigation, conviction of rape, sex crimes

Collection of stories about the investigation and arrest of Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, an Enid native.

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Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted a motion Friday filed by attorneys for former Oklahoma City Police Department officer Daniel Holtzc…

In 2015, a jury found former Oklahoma City cop Daniel Holtzclaw guilty of 18 sexual assault counts involving eight women. The now 30-year-old was sentenced to 263 years in prison. As Holtzclaw and his loved ones continue to maintain his innocence, his case has also attracted a cadre of other supporters from law enforcement and exonoree communities.

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Oklahoma's attorney general asked the state's highest criminal court in May to seal many of the records linked to Holtzclaw's appeal, a request the court granted without comment.

ABC's "20/20" will air Daniel Holtzclaw's first interview since he was sentenced to 263 years in prison after being convicted of rape and othe…

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Two more women have joined a lawsuit alleging that Oklahoma City and its police force failed to monitor a former officer who was recently convicted of sexually assaulting women while on duty.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Former Oklahoma City Police Department officer and former Enid resident Daniel Ken Holtzclaw asked for a new trial Wednesday, …

"I didn't do anything wrong. So all I can say is, I was innocent and he just picked the wrong lady to stop that night." — grandmother and victim of Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer convicted Thursday of rape and sex assault crimes

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OKLAHOMA CITY — After four days of deliberations, jurors Thursday found a former Oklahoma City police officer guilty of 18 of the 36 charges a…

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They were among 13 women who've testified in the sexual assault trial of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, many providing visual cues to the challenges prosecutors face as they concluded their case this week.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The 13th and final accuser in the sex crimes trial against a fired Oklahoma City police officer told jurors Tuesday he raped h…

Daniel Holtzclaw (second from left) is escorted from the courtroom for a lunch break as prosecutors continue their case in the second week of …

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Prosecutors allege Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, who grew up in Enid, raped the woman while he was on duty April 25, 2014. He also is accused of sexually abusing 12 other women between December 2013 and June 2014 while a police officer in OKC.

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An accuser in the sex crimes case against a fired Oklahoma City police officer was not allowed to continue testifying Friday for several hours…

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Holtzclaw fired by Oklahoma City Police Department.

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The ongoing shaking beneath our feet was judged the top story of 2014 by News & Eagle staff members.

Prosecutors said Monday investigators found a 17-year-old girl’s DNA inside the uniform pants of an Oklahoma City police officer who is accused of sexually assaulting 13 women during the past year.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Evidence against an Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting 13 women while on patrol is scheduled to be ma…

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Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office filed more charges Tuesday against an Oklahoma City police officer and Enid native accused of sexua…

Daniel Holtzclaw, formerly of Enid and an Oklahoma City police officer, is accused of sexually assaulting women he encountered while on patrol…

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Conditions of his release on bond include being under full house arrest, wearing a GPS monitoring unit and only traveling to his attorney’s office or court appearances.

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Bond has been lowered for an Oklahoma City police officer and Enid native accused of sexually assaulting women he encountered while on patrol.

Oklahoma City police officer Daniel K. Holtzclaw poses next to his vehicle in this file photo. Holtzclaw, an Enid native, has been arrested on…

Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw stands in front of his vehicle. (Provided Photo)

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Cass? Send an email to crains@enidnews.com.

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