Attorney wants 'Daisy Doe' case dropped

Keri Thornton, Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla.
·3 min read

Mar. 27—The attorney for a Muskogee man charged with first-degree murder has filed a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution.

James Ray Vogel, 58, was arrested in 2017 for allegedly killing Jeanette Ellen Coleman, whose body was discovered by two fisherman on May 7, 1988 by the Fort Gibson dam. Coleman was clothed in only a T-shirt and had a 28-pound concrete block tied to her waist. She had no identification, so she was nicknamed "Daisy Doe" for a tattoo on her shoulder.

In 2015, Coleman was positively identified by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office and the case was reopened. Investigators believed Vogel and three other men met Coleman in a Muskogee bar. The men are believed to have had sexual intercourse with her at the dam, then tied a block to her body and threw her into the water while she was still alive. Court documents identify the three men as James West, Wesley Hall and Jackie Goodson.

District Attorney Jack Thorp said he believes two of the three men are deceased; however, the investigation is ongoing.

Along with being accused of murder, Vogel is suspected of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, including obstruction and perjury. The suspect allegedly gave false statements as he testified in front of a grand jury.

First-degree murder is punishable by death, life imprisonment without parole, or life imprisonment. If found guilty of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, Vogel faces up to two years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections or up to one year imprisonment in the county jail. Perjury is punishable by imprisonment of two to 20 years.

Vogel was represented by the late Donn Baker, but B.J. Baker, Donn's nephew, is now his attorney. Thorp is listed as the lead prosecutor.

According to court documents, the case was stricken on July 25, 2018, to be reset on application. Baker said the DA has done nothing on this case in over a year, therefore prejudicing his client.

But Thorp said murder doesn't have a statute of limitations, and that Vogel has been out of custody for a significant amount of time.

"A couple of things have caused the delay. There was an initial disagreement about a desire for a polygraph, the retirement of Judges [Mark] Dobbins and Shepherd, and finally COVID-19," said Thorp. "The case was actually off the docket calendar for a significant time. That has been rectified, and I expect it will move faster now."

According to the state's response, Assistant District Attorney Haley N. Robinson requested that the court deny the motion to dismiss.

"The circumstances of this case, much like those cases previously ruled on by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, indicate there is no evidence in the record showing that [Vogel] is prejudiced by the delay. [Vogel] has the burden of producing evidence to support his claim and as the matter currently sits, no evidence has been presented," the response stated.

An affidavit signed by Vogel states accusations lingering over his head has caused him anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, and sleep for the past two years.

Vogel is slated to appear in court on April 29, at 1:30 p.m. District Judge Doug Kirkley is presiding over the case.