An Oklahoma man had his murder conviction thrown out Monday after it was revealed that the judge who had presided over his jury trial was involved in a sexual relationship with the prosecutor.
In a trial presided by Former Oklahoma County District Judge Tim Henderson, the jury convicted Robert Hashagen III on Feb. 2 for the 2013 killing of 94-year-old Evelyn Goodall, KOKH-TV reported.
Hashagen was then sentenced to life imprisonment by Henderson on March 4, according to The Oklahoman.
Later in March, Henderson resigned after three women stepped forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him, according to The Oklahoman. (RELATED: James Franco Responds To 2018 Sexual Misconduct Allegations In New Interview)
One of Henderson’s accusers was a female assistant district attorney from the Hashagen case. That attorney had delivered the state’s closing arguments and had cross examined two of the defense’s witnesses during Hashagen’s trial, KOKH-TV reported.
The district attorney alleged that the married judge had been sexually abusing her from April 2016 to August 2018, The Oklahoman reported.
However, Henderson disagreed with her on the nature of the relationship, reportedly describing it in a written statement as a “consensual affair” that involved “texts, phone calls, emails and cards” and “sexual conduct in my office, in her apartment and in hotel rooms secured by and paid for by” her.
In light of the revelations, Hashagen’s attorney James Lockard requested for a new trial, The Oklahoman reported. “The integrity of the judiciary … is very much in question here,” Lockard said during an evidentiary hearing. “We can’t have faith that the verdict is a fair one.”
Henderson claimed that despite his “consensual affair,” he maintained his role “as a neutral and detached judicial officer” in the Hashagen case, The Oklahoman reported.
Another judge tossed Hashagen’s conviction and his sentence Monday. Hashagen will be retried on a later date, according to KOKH-TV.