Defense attorney arrested on solicitation for murder charge
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