Tulsa private investigator Eric Cullen has always known there are people in Oklahoma’s prisons who shouldn’t be there.
He led and helped uncover evidence in several cases in Tulsa County, including that of Michelle Murphy, released in 2014, and those of Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter in 2016. Each served 20 years in prisons for crimes they didn’t commit.
It was the death of his best friend at the Tulsa Jail that brought Eric Cullen into the world of private investigations.
Now, 15 years after that tragedy, the PI was again in the news, embraced by two men who walked free from prison after two decades wrongly imprisoned for murder. Cullen was given credit for finding the exonerating evidence.
An Oklahoma man who spent more than 30 years in prison for rape in southeastern Oklahoma is free after the Innocence Project presented DNA evidence it said excluded him from the crime.
Lott was sentenced in 1988 to more than 200 years for rape, robbery, burglary and making a bomb threat related to the 1987 attack on a woman at her home in Ada, about 65 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.
Twenty years to the day that Michelle Murphy found her son’s lifeless body on the kitchen floor, she heard Tulsa County District Judge William Kellough say the words she had been waiting for: “This court finds you, Miss Murphy, innocent.”
Though she’d been out of jail on bond for three months, it wasn’t until after Kellough’s declaration that Murphy was ready to do something she had never done: visit her son’s grave.
One inmate has been released from prison and a life sentence was thrown out for another as part of a police corruption probe of the Tulsa Police Department, records show.
Officials continue to review criminal cases involving eight police officers whose names have surfaced in a federal investigation that became public in November 2009.