De­fense at­tor­ney ar­rested on so­lic­i­ta­tion for murder charge

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer [email protected]­la­

A de­fense at­tor­ney who prac­tices in north­east Ok­la­homa has been ac­cused by the state’s mul­ti­county grand jury of so­lic­it­ing an im­pris­oned mur­derer to kill an­other mur­derer.

Win­ston Con­nor II was ar­rested Satur­day at an air­port in Char­lotte, North Carolina, af­ter re­turn­ing from a va­ca­tion with his wife to the Caribbean. In­ves­ti­ga­tors in Ok­la­homa searched his law of­fice in Jay and his home in Grove.

Grand ju­rors se­cretly in­dicted Con­nor, 54, in Novem­ber. The in­dict­ment is to be un­sealed Mon­day in Tulsa.

He is charged with so­lic­i­ta­tion for first­de­gree murder, rack­e­teer­ing, witness tam­per­ing, as­sault, un­law­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion with

an in­mate and drug and pros­ti­tu­tion of­fenses, ac­cord­ing to a war­rant for his ar­rest.

Con­nor told The Ok­la­homan in 2017 that he has never sought to have any­one beaten or killed.

Con­nor came un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2016 when he was over­heard talk­ing to con­victed mur­derer Slint Tate on the phone.

The state nar­cotics bureau was mon­i­tor­ing Tate’s cell­phone calls in May 2016 be­cause he was sus­pected of run­ning a large drug ring from prison, court records show.

Con­nor spoke to Tate in part about get­ting his prison sen­tence re­duced. The at­tor­ney also was seek­ing help get­ting a car re­turned for his sec­re­tary.

Near the end of the con­ver­sa­tion, the at­tor­ney brought up a for­mer death row in­mate, Ster­ling B. Wil­liams, who had just been re-sen­tenced in Tulsa to life with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role.

Us­ing a vul­gar­ity, the at­tor­ney said Wil­liams years ago tried to stran­gle a woman “I was see­ing” in Tulsa and fa­tally stabbed her room­mate. “My friend ... broke free and got away and ran,” Con­nor said.

“Just an FYI, brother,” Con­nor said.

“I got you, brother,” Tate replied.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors al­lege Tate then be­gan steps to have the car thief beaten and Wil­liams killed. Record­ings of Tate’s phone calls be­came pub­lic in 2017 be­cause they be­came ev­i­dence in crim­i­nal cases against mem­bers of his drug ring.

Tate, 36, is serv­ing a life sen­tence with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role for fa­tally shoot­ing a Delaware County re­serve sher­iff’s deputy in 1999. He was 16 at the time.

He was sen­tenced in Septem­ber to 20 years in fed­eral prison af­ter ad­mit­ting to op­er­at­ing the drug ring.

In 2017, Con­nor came un­der fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter a raid on two il­licit Tulsa mas­sage par­lors, Phase 2 Spa and Phase 3 Spa.

That same raid led to ac­cu­sa­tions against James Ca­puto, then a Tulsa County district judge. Ca­puto has de­nied ever pay­ing for sex. He lost re­elec­tion in Novem­ber. He has not been charged.

Win­ston Con­nor II

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