Someone Take The Wheel
  Giddy Up!


Tulsa D.A. refuses to prosecute brutal slaying in midst of violent crime wave

TULSA, Okla. -- July 27, 2004 – The family of a slain businessman, Shawn Howard, is seeking justice for their son in a case that has many questioning the judgment of the Tulsa County prosecutor’s office.

On June 25, Mr. Howard, owner of a downtown tavern, located at 23 North Cheyenne Avenue, died from wounds received during an assault by a vagrant in the early morning hours of June 24. Howard was hit in the head as many as 10 times with a steel pipe. His teeth were broken out. His skull was destroyed.

The killer pursued Howard after he was left stunned and helpless. Howard was attempting to flee when he was hit from behind. After the victim was rendered unconscious, his killer beat him savagely. Tavern manager Josh Martin was also severely beaten.

The night of the attack, Terry Badgewell, a transient with a documented history of violent crime, fled the crime scene and was later arrested on two complaints of assault with a deadly weapon. He was covered in the blood of Martin and Howard. Howard's family and friends trusted that charges would be filed.

They were wrong.

Without even interviewing Martin, the only witness to the killing, Tulsa District Attorney Tim Harris declined to press charges and released Badgewell on the grounds of self-defense. Why? Because, in part, Howard struck Badgewell with a single light blow with a set of brass knuckles he was carrying for protection while transferring receipts for deposit. The eye witness stated Howard was attempting to warn Badgewell away. Indeed, Badgewell's booking photo showed no visible marks of any kind.

The decision has created a polarizing firestorm of discussion and speculation among local residents that leaves many scratching their heads. The police investigation came to a halt after Harris’ announcement.

The Howard family is, however, determined to expose the facts, protect their son's memory, and pursue justice for him.

“We just want the facts of this case to come into the open, and let the chips fall where they may,” Kay Howard, Shawn’s mother, said. “We wanted our report to be objective, and we think it is.”

Based on the D.A.’s pledge to the family that he would consider any additional evidence they uncovered, an attorney was hired to conduct an investigation, produce a report and share the results with Harris, who asked for a copy.

The family had faith in the D.A.’s promise. That faith was soon betrayed.

Two days before a meeting was to occur, the family was shocked to read the D.A.’s office statement to the press: They revealed that the upcoming meeting was merely a matter of “courtesy to the family”, and that, in effect, their minds were closed.

Mrs. Howard reacted with bewilderment. “We did everything we could. If they have additional information, as they have implied, they at least need to show it to us. After all, we’ve shared our information with them.”

The family’s attorney stated: “Under the law, this was not an act of ‘self-defense.’ Lethal, disproportionate force was used after any credible claim of threat from Shawn toward his killer has disappeared.”

Harris has been repeatedly criticized in the community for what seem to be inexplicable decisions not to prosecute violent crimes. This leaves residents struggling to cope with a skyrocketing crime rate that has sent Tulsa into the top 15 cities in the nation, prompting Attorney General John Ashcroft to deploy a task force of FBI agents to help local law enforcement cope.

Citizens who look forward to the success of the City's revitalization projects are concerned that safety issues may become a major stumbling block. And those residents outraged at the D.A.’s refusal feel their only option is to gather the 5,000 signatures necessary to petition to constitute a Grand Jury under the Oklahoma Constitution. Mrs. Howard comments: "Shawn worked tirelessly to make downtown a safer, more interesting place. All we want is justice for Shawn."


Samantha Dent For The Family of Shawn Howard

Resources and investigative report requests available online:


Monday: Opening night, with theme of "The Kerry-Edwards Plan for America's Future." Speakers to outline the ticket's plans for the economy, health care and strengthening the country. Featured speaker: former President Bill Clinton, who will be introduced by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tuesday: Theme of "A Lifetime of Service and Strength," focusing on John Kerry's and John Edwards' sense of duty to country. Featured speakers: Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama will give keynote address; Teresa Heinz Kerry will speak about her husband; Ron Reagan will speak on stem cell research.

Wednesday: Kerry to be formally nominated. Theme will be "A Stronger, More Secure America," focusing on homeland security. Featured speakers: congressional candidate and retired Marine Lt. Col. Steve Bozak; John Edwards will deliver a speech.

Thursday: Kerry to accept the nomination, outline his plans. Theme will be "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World." Kerry's military career will be highlighted, and various speakers will voice support for Kerry, including former Sen. Max Cleland; Kerry's former Vietnam crewmates; Kerry's daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa; and his stepsons, Chris and Andre Heinz.

C-SPAN will provide live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention unedited, without commentary or commercials. An on-demand, searchable video archive of campaign and convention programming, along with other information, can be found at

If you have a computer with a media player (or are an AOL subscriber), you can sign onto for more coverage. Access is free for AOL subscribers, while others have to pay or sign up for a trial period. will provide live, gavel-to-gavel Webcasts of all sessions along with an on-demand video library of major events and proceedings.

On PBS Jim Lehrer will anchor coverage from 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

MSNBC's schedule: "Hardball with Chris Matthews," live from Boston, 6 to 8 p.m.; "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," 8 to 9 p.m.; "Hardball: Battle for the White House," live coverage anchored by Matthews, 9 p.m. to midnight; and "Convention After Hours," live late-night coverage anchored by Joe Scarborough and Ron Reagan, midnight to 2 a.m. Information also will be available at

On CNN coverage with Blitzer, Woodruff, Brown, King, Greenfield and
Schneider will air from 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Thanks to Throgg! 

Dear Abby:

I am a crack dealer in Villa Park, who has recently been diagnosed as a
carrier of HIV virus. My parents live in Mt. Prospect and one of my
sisters, who lives in Rockford, is married to a transvestite.

My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling
marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are
prostitutes in Maywood.

I have two brothers; one is currently serving a life sentence at
Statesville for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is
currently in jail awaiting trial for sexual misconduct with his three

I have recently become engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in
Schaumburg. She is a part-time "working girl". All things considered, my
problem is this: I love my fiancé and look forward to bringing her into the
family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her.

Should I tell her about my cousin in Romeoville who supports John Kerry?


-- Worried About My Reputation


Rip out the table
we need room to move
in a life unstable
you're so easily amused
anywhere you hang
yourself is home
throw in a tape, fix the tone

The windows are dirty let's hope it rains
add another newspaper
something to do with my change
I see we're fighting again
In some fucking land
throw in another tape man

Someone take the wheel
and I don't know where we're going
anybody say what you feel
everybody's sad, but nobody's showing

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