Judge releases McCarty; rips former chemist

After sitting for nearly 20 years on death row for the 1982 murder of Pamela Kaye Willis, Curtis Edward McCarty is now a free man.


Judge Twyla Mason Gray said during today’s hearing she believes that McCarty was involved in the murder but because of the actions of former Oklahoma City police chemist Joyce Gilchrist, she could not let this case go forward.


“Joyce Gilchrist said she found a coup de gras but what she really found was a way to undermine everything I believe in,” Gray said. “I want to know, where is Joyce Gilchrist and why isn’t she in prison?”



Gray was clearly torn on a decision after a three-hour hearing Thursday afternoon. Returning from a 30-minute recess to render a decision, Gray said she needed more time to research the law and would announce her verdict Friday morning.


Her remarks at the time indicated problems for the prosecution.


“I’m very troubled with this case,” Gray said from the bench. “Twice this case has been reversed because of state misconduct. I really don’t know what the answer is.”


McCarty’s attorneys had refiled a motion to dismiss after results from DNA testing were confirmed on Wednesday. An independent New Orleans lab found the major DNA component on fingernail clippings taken from the victim was not a match to McCarty, but results for the minor male component were inconclusive.



Attorney Colin Starger from the New York-based Innocence Project flew to Oklahoma City to personally make the argument for dismissal. The organization, which works to help exonerate people wrongly convicted, paid for part of the testing.


Starger told Gray the case should be dismissed because of the history of the prosecution toward McCarty. The first two convictions McCarty received for the murder were both thrown out by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals due to prosecutorial misconduct.


“The state shouldn’t get three bites at the apple when the first two were tainted,” Starger said.  “Scott Cooper


Judge: McCarty test results expected next week
McCarty submits additional DNA sample
Key evidence in McCarty case does not match defendant

Scott Cooper

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