New DA hits the ground running

Jan. 14—New District Attorney Erik Johnson, who took office Jan. 2, issued a press release Friday and said he has hit the ground running, and, during his first week in office, is settling in and establishing goals as the district attorney for District 22, which includes Pontotoc, Seminole and Hughes counties.

"My goal is to work closely with all law enforcement throughout the district, including tribal, federal, municipal, and county agencies," Johnson said. "Public safety will be a priority in this office, and I want to ensure that we have a safe community for our citizens to live, work, and raise their families."

Johnson said one of his focuses will be tackling more violent crimes cases, including crimes against children and the elderly, and domestic violence throughout the district.

Johnson said he brought several new faces to the office as well. In his first week, he established an investigative division within the office, and hired retired Ada Police detective Lynn "Rosco" Haines as an investigator at the Pontotoc County Courthouse. Haines worked at APD for 21 years before retiring in 2007, and worked for the Department of Public Safety for another 15 years before joining the District 22 Office.

Johnson said retired homicide detective Doug Parker also joined the investigative team from the Oklahoma City Police Department as an expert in crimes against children. Parker has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, with 27 of those years being with OKCPD, before retiring Dec. 31, 2022, Johnson said.

Mark Machado, who previously served as a bogus check investigator for Seminole County, moved to a field investigations position for both Seminole and Hughes counties, Johnson said. He has been with the District 22 Office for more than 20 years.

The district also established its first Civil Division where Assistant District Attorney Krystina Phillips will be handling civil cases in all three counties within District 22, according to Johnson.

"Ms. Phillips is a highly qualified civil attorney with a strong background in local government law, and I am delighted to have her join our team," Johnson said.

Johnson said by establishing the position, the office can effectively represent the interests of elected officials throughout the district, which will help provide better services for their constituents.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Hauger will be serving Seminole County, Johnson said. Hauger is a 2021 graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law and worked in the private sector before joining the DA's office.

Tiffany Anderson and Kori Good joined the Victims Services Division, according to Johnson. Anderson serves as the district-wide victim-witness coordinator and grant administrator. Anderson served as the children's pastor at H2O Church for many years, Johnson said.

Good will be the victim-witness coordinator for Seminole and Hughes counties, as well as assisting with public information duties. Good is a former journalist, and served in education at Wewoka Public Schools.

"I feel the staff that has been retained from the previous administration as well as the new staff that I've hired are professionals and highly qualified," Johnson said. "I feel very comfortable and confident in their abilities, and am quite certain that public safety will be a priority for this office."