A former Cyril police officer was indicted on two felony counts by a multicounty grand jury after he allegedly lied on a police report and destroyed evidenced found at the scene of an assault.
According to the indictment, Loren Daniel Cole, 43, of Marlow, was working as a Cyril police officer in July 2015 when he and other officers investigated an alleged assault at a residence in Cyril. Prosecutors say Cole wrote in an affidavit that no drugs were found at the scene. However, some photographs from the crime scene showed marijuana on a table top, while others showed no marijuana in the same location.
Cole is accused of taking the marijuana and disposing of the evidence in a trash can near the Cyril police station and falsifying the report to indicate no drugs were present at the scene.
After investigators noticed the discrepancy in the crime scene photos, they questioned Cole. He allegedly admitted to finding marijuana at the scene and re-wrote the original affidavit to reflect the discovery.
According to Caddo County District Attorney Jason Hicks, "[We] have two affidavits that are polar opposites. In Oklahoma, under statute, that's perjury. We look at two sworn documents and one of them says, 'X,' and the other one says, 'Y.' It's a pretty clear-cut case of perjury."
Cole allegedly admitted to falsifying the police report and destroying the evidence, but says he did so under the direction of then-police chief Chris Wagstaff. Cole says Wagstaff instructed him to do so because the suspect in the investigation was an EMT, as was Wagstaff, and the chief did not want the suspect to "look bad."
Wagstaff denies instructing Cole to destroy evidence or falsify the police report. He told investigators that he directed Cole to "secure the evidence."
Destruction of evidence is a misdemeanor under 21 O.S. § 454.
Whoever, in a trial, hearing, investigation, deposition, certification or declaration, in which the making or subscribing of a statement is required or authorized by law, makes or subscribes a statement under oath, affirmation or other legally binding assertion that the statement is true, when in fact the witness or declarant does not believe that the statement is true or knows that it is not true or intends thereby to avoid or obstruct the ascertainment of the truth, is guilty of perjury. It shall be a defense to the charge of perjury as defined in this section that the statement is true.
According to 21 O.S. § 500, perjury is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, depending on the specific details of the crime:
- When committed on the trial of an indictment for felony, by imprisonment not less than two (2) years nor more than twenty (20) years;
- When committed on any other trial proceeding in a court of justice, by imprisonment for not less than (1) year nor more than ten (10) years; and
- In all other cases by imprisonment not more than (5) years
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