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Larry Barnes

Summary of ATF and Tulsa police scandal
On August 10, 2007, state and federal law-enforcement officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, arrested 31-year-old Larita Barnes and her father, 56-year-old Larry Barnes, on federal drug charges.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, charged the Barneses with possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine, and with maintaining a property for the purpose of distributing and storing the drugs.

According to a trial brief prepared by an assistant U.S. attorney, Officer Jeff Henderson of the Tulsa Police Department and Special Agent Brandon McFadden of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) used a drug dealer named Ryan Logsdon as a confidential informant and purchased three ounces of methamphetamine from Larita Barnes on May 8, 2007. The brief said that the officers had given Logsdon $3,000, followed him to the Barneses’ house, and watched him go inside. The brief said the officers watched Logsdon leave and then followed him to a meetup point, where he produced just under 90 grams of methamphetamine.

According to the trial brief, Officer Harold Wells performed a field test that indicated the substance was methamphetamine. Logsdon told the officers that he gave Larita Barnes the money, she gave him the drugs, and they discussed future deals before he left.

The trial brief also said that Logsdon met with Larita Barnes and Larry Barnes in April 2007 to discuss a methamphetamine deal. At that meeting, according to the brief, Larita Barnes discussed the quality of the drugs she sold. She then broke off a piece of crystal meth, stuck it in a pipe and smoked it, telling Logsdon that it was “Good shit.”

Prior to trial, Larita Barnes moved to exclude testimony from Logsdon about the April event. Separately, Larry Barnes moved to sever his case from his daughter’s. He claimed his daughter’s alleged comments to Logsdon in April would prejudice his case. Chief Judge Claire Eagan of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, ruled on April 15, 2008, that Logsdon’s testimony about earlier events was admissible and that Larry and Larita Barnes would be tried together.

The trial began a week later. Logsdon, Henderson and McFadden testified about the drug transaction. “The front door opened,” Henderson testified. “He [Logsdon] was greeted by a white female … I couldn’t make out the identity of that person. The female stepped onto the front porch. This was a brief, maybe second, two to three seconds.”

A federal jury convicted the Barneses on both counts on April 23, 2008. Larita Barnes received a sentence of 10 years in prison. Larry Barnes received a sentence of five years and six months.

In early 2009, the FBI began an investigation into McFadden and other members of the Tulsa Police Department after a confidential informant told authorities that officers had seized her drugs and money and then told her she could get her money back by selling drugs on their behalf. As part of the investigation, the FBI learned that the convictions of Larry and Larita Barnes were based on perjured testimony.

On July 2, 2009, Eagan vacated the convictions of Larry Barnes and Larita Barnes, dismissed their indictments, and ordered their immediate release from prison. Because of the ongoing investigation, Eagan’s order was placed under seal.

In 2010, McFadden and six Tulsa police officers, including Wells and Henderson, were charged with a wide range of federal offenses. McFadden was indicted on four counts: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession of a firearm in relation to drug-trafficking offense; and aiding and abetting money laundering. He pled guilty on all counts, became a cooperating witness for the government, and received a sentence of 21 months in prison.

Henderson was charged with 58 counts, including perjury, civil rights violations, and conspiracy to distribute drugs on July 19, 2010. He was convicted on August 24, 2011 of eight counts, six for perjury and two counts for depriving people of their civil rights. He received a sentence of 42 months in prison.

Wells was indicted on July 19, 2010 on 10 counts, including civil-rights violations and drug distribution. He was convicted in 2011 on four counts and received the harshest sentence, 10 years in prison.

According to court records, the case against the Barneses began in January 2007, when McFadden, Henderson and another officer executed a search warrant on Logsdon’s house. Henderson threatened to send Logsdon to jail and to place his son in custody if he refused to cooperate. During the search, the officers found $31,000 in cash and about two pounds of methamphetamine. They pocketed some of the money and drugs, and Logsdon agreed to serve as a confidential informant.

Later, Logsdon told the officers about the Barneses, and McFadden began preparing to use Logsdon for a controlled buy, receiving $3,000 from the ATF that he gave to Henderson. But the buy didn’t happen. Larita Barnes became wary that Logsdon might be a confidential informant and told him not to come around anymore.

Henderson never returned the money. McFadden learned that Henderson wrote a report stating the controlled buy did occur. After charges were filed against the Barneses, McFadden found out that his name was on the report. Henderson told McFadden to “stick to what’s on the report” because “everybody hates the Barneses” and “no one’s going to ask any questions.”

McFadden agreed, believing in the Barneses’ guilt. He would later say in an affidavit: “The reason I did this was to help the United States of America, as an acting agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Jeff Henderson, and the City of Tulsa to successfully prosecute the Barneses so they would subsequently be convicted of a criminal offense and therefore be imprisoned.”

Larry Barnes and Larita Barnes later filed lawsuits in state court against the City of Tulsa for compensation from their wrongful conviction. He received $425,000; she received $300,000. Larita Barnes also filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government for McFadden’s actions and received a $4.7 million settlement.

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals would say in a ruling: “Brandon McFadden was a disgrace to law enforcement. He joined other corrupt officers in fabricating evidence, stealing drugs and money from suspects, and selling drugs. Plaintiff Larita Barnes is one of his victims.”

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 3/18/2022
Last Updated: 3/18/2022
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Sentence:5 years and 6 months
Age at the date of reported crime:56
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No