OKLAHOMA CITY — A judge ordered an Oklahoma City police officer to stand trial on 35 felony charges stemming from allegations he coerced women to expose themselves, touched them inappropriately or used his authority to force them to have sex while he was on-duty.
Daniel Holtzclaw’s attorney immediately entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf following Judge D. Fred Doak’s ruling Tuesday afternoon. Holtzclaw, an Enid native, showed no emotion, and his attorneys had no comment as they quickly left the courtroom following Doak’s decision. They said they’d be preparing for trial.
Doak, who listened to two days of testimony from 13 women accusing the officer of sexually abusing them, said the 27-year-old could remain under house arrest at home in Enid, as long as he continues to comply with conditions of his release. A trial has not been scheduled; his next court hearing is scheduled for January.
Charges against Holtzclaw include rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, burglary and indecent exposure. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of stalking; the judge did not hear testimony on that count.
Holtzclaw initially faced 32 counts at the start of this week’s preliminary hearing, but prosecutors added four more charges after listening to testimony.
Doak told attorneys that had prosecutors brought some of the charges to him as stand-alone cases, he would not have passed them along to trial given the evidence presented. But considering all the testimony, he said he felt compelled to send everything to trial.
During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors said Holtzclaw for the most part found victims while patrolling the northeast side of town — until June when his precinct boundaries changed to including the northwest part of Oklahoma City. Some of his later accusers reported coming into contact with him there.
Prosecutors said the assaults occurred over a period of months and involved women ranging in age from 17 into at least their 50s; not all women said how old they are. All of the women are black. Holtzclaw is described in court records as Asian or Pacific Islander. He is part Japanese.
Holtzclaw’s lawyers portrayed most of the accusers as addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics or habitual offenders. They noted most of the women waited months to tell police about Holtzclaw and questioned why they wouldn’t have come forward immediately.
The officer’s attorneys attempted to convince the judge the women had lengthy criminal records and incentive to lie in order to curry favor with prosecutors. Two who testified Tuesday morning were wearing orange jail jumpsuits.
His attorneys also noted police found many of the accusers, and media attention may have stirred some women to take advantage of the situation.
During the hearing Tuesday, Oklahoma City police detective Kim Davis said she matched the location of Holtzclaw’s patrol car to the locations described by 13 different women using a GPS unit installed in his cruiser.
In every instance, the 27-year-old’s black cruiser showed up where the women said sexual improprieties had occurred — and on the same dates they were alleged to have happened, said Davis.
“They’re telling the truth,” Davis said.
Davis was the final witness after two days of emotional testimony. Holtzclaw’s accusers had taken the stand and detailed their encounters with the officer. Many testified they had unwillingly cooperated with him to avoid arrest.
Davis said investigators contacted a number of women believed to have interacted with Holtzclaw while he was on duty, and many reported nothing inappropriate. One person, who is not involved in the case, is suspected of making up allegations and could face a charge of lying to police, she said.
Davis said there is another case that prosecutors declined to accept.
Holtzclaw’s supporters showed up at Tuesday’s hearing wearing black “Justice4DanielHoltzclaw” T-shirts and listened silently to testimony.
Outside, five stories below the courtroom, protesters who wanted to see Holtzclaw imprisoned could be heard chanting something indistinguishable all morning as Holtzclaw’s accusers testified.
Davis, a sex crimes detective, testified she interviewed Holtzclaw on June 18 after he showed up to report for his 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift. Early that morning, a woman had flagged down police to report that an officer forced her to perform oral sex and that she’d been taken to an area hospital for a rape examination.
Davis said Holtzclaw admitted to stopping the woman but said he didn’t check the woman’s name in the police computer system because he was off-duty at the time of the stop and had all his equipment turned off. Surveillance video from a nearby building captured images of the stop.
At the conclusion of that interview, Davis said detectives confiscated Holtzclaw’s uniform pants. Prosecutors said Monday they found DNA evidence belonging to a 17-year-old accuser inside of those pants.