POTEAU, Oklahoma — An Oklahoma judge has refused to set aside subpoenas issues to out-of-state investigators who handled a case involving two brothers charged with first-degree murder.
Elvis Thacker, 25, and his brother are charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Briana Jane Ault, whose body was found in a pond in near Pocola, a small eastern Oklahoma town.
His attorney in the murder case, Gretchen Mosley, has subpoenaed police officers and prosecutors who were investigating the brothers in a separate attempted murder case in Arkansas around the time of Ault's death. Oklahoma prosecutors asked that those subpoenas be quashed, arguing the Arkansas law officers' testimony wasn't necessary, but the judge overseeing the Oklahoma murder case refused their request during a hearing Monday.
Special District Judge Jeffrey Singer said that because Elvis Thacker could potentially face a death sentence, it was important to ensure he receives a fair trial, the Southwest Times Record reported (http://bit.ly/1a5hgZt ) . Singer left the subpoenas in place but asked local prosecutors and defense lawyers to consider whether they could reach an agreement on testimony from law officers, particularly since many are potential witnesses for both sides.
Elvis Thacker and his brother Johnathen Thacker, 24, of Cedarville, Arkansas, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ault, who lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas Investigators said her throat had been slashed. The state has already said it will seek Johnathen Thacker's execution but is withholding a decision on Elvis Thacker until after his preliminary hearing ends Nov. 13.
Mosley also wants to suppress statements that Elvis Thacker made to Arkansas law officers and exclude DNA evidence collected in the Arkansas case and given to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
In Oklahoma, both Thackers are charged with first-degree murder and forcible sodomy.
In an Arkansas case investigated about the same time as the Ault death, Elvis Thacker pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Johnathen Thacker pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to 25 years in prison plus 15 years suspended.