405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Judge Rejects Affidavit Recanting Rape Testimony

19-Jul-2013

A man convicted of raping his grandson in 2004 has suffered a setback in his appeal when an Oklahoma County District judge rejected an affidavit central to his claim of innocence.

Harold Lee Belton, 62, was convicted of raping Deveonte Lavon Johnson, now 20, when the boy was 9 years old. Much of the prosecution was centered on the testimony of the young boy, but Johnson now recants his testimony. Johnson's signed affidavit is central to Belton's appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, but Oklahoma County District Judge Donald Deason rejected the affidavit last week.

The problem with the affidavit is that Belton admits he wrote it himself, then sent it to his brother-in-law to be signed by Johnson. According to Judge Deason, Belton implied that his grandson wrote the affidavit himself and mailed it to Belton unexpectedly.

In his order denying post-conviction relief to Belton, Judge Deason wrote, “This court finds that there is a high probability that Petitioner is attempting to perpetrate a fraud upon this court.” He continued, “Given all the circumstances, this court finds the statements are highly suspect and lacking in credibility, particularly given that the Petitioner drafted the affidavit and the circumstances that led to Deveonte Johnson signing the affidavit.”

In late 2004, a preteen Johnson testified that Belton, his grandfather, had sexually assaulted him over a five month period in 2001 and 2002. He testified climbed onto a top bunk bed while he slept and raped him. Johnson's testimony was key in Belton's conviction, as there was not physical evidence connecting him to a sexual assault and there were no witnesses to the alleged rapes. In fact, Johnson's brothers were asleep on the bottom bunk when the assaults are to have occurred, yet they were not awakened.

Johnson's affidavit mentions that when he turned 18 he began to question what happened, saying he did not recall his testimony, but that he had never been raped.

If the content of the affidavit is true, and Johnson truly recants any testimony that convicted his grandfather, it is unfortunate for Belton that he chose to intimate that the young man wrote the affidavit without prompting. Because Judge Deason believes that Belton tried to dupe the court, his appeal is rejected.

Filing an appeal is a complex procedure, and attempting to circumvent the process in order to move things along is not a good idea. Work closely with an experienced appellate lawyer and act according to his or her counsel to avoid making mistakes that will jeopardize your appeal. For more information on criminal appeals in Oklahoma, call 405-778-4800 or submit the confidential case review form found on the Oklahoma Legal Group website.



All News

More News

No Charges in MWC Home Invasion Shooting
24-Jul-2017

The Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office has announced that ..

Couple Arrested after Reportedly Abusing Child and Making Him Shoplift
21-Jul-2017

A man and woman in Rogers County, Oklahoma, have been arrested on ..

Tulsa Tire Store Employee Accused of Sexually Assaulting Customer
17-Jul-2017

An employee of a Tulsa tire store has been arrested on a sexual ba..

Man Sentenced in Shooting of Valley Brook Police Officer
14-Jul-2017

An Oklahoma City man who shot a Valley Brook police officer on New..

No Restrictions on Oklahoma Sex Offender Moving Next Door to Victim
10-Jul-2017

Oklahoma places a lot of residency restrictions on convicted sex o..

Norman Father Arrested in Daughter's Shooting Death
07-Jul-2017

Just before dawn on June 29, a Norman man called 9-1-1 to report t..

Man's Child Abuse Charge Upgraded to Murder
03-Jul-2017

An Oklahoma City man charged with child abuse after his infant nep..

Garvin County Man Sentenced for Sexually Abusing Neighbor
30-Jun-2017

A man convicted in February of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old ne..

Oklahoma Man Accused of Attempting to Kill Cousin, Then Hiring an Escort
26-Jun-2017

An Oklahoma man who allegedly tried to kill his cousin in an arson..

Supreme Court Ruling Says Trademark Law Barring Offensive Names Infringes on Free Speech
23-Jun-2017

You have likely never heard of Asian American rock band the Slants..

×