WAGONER – A former Cherokee County prosecutor and the district attorney’s office administrator pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from an ongoing multicounty grand jury investigation.

Prosecutors confirmed Friday that Janet Bickel and Arstest Vyrl Keeter are cooperating in the ongoing investigation of District Attorney Richard L. Gray’s office. Gray said his staff will cooperate with the attorney general’s office in any way possible.

Bickel, former assistant district attorney, and Arstest Vyrl Keeter, office administrator, were indicted in January after an investigation discovered drug possession, tampering with evidence and a cover-up scheme. The indictments contained multiple counts covering three Oklahoma counties.

Bickel, 49, pleaded guilty in Wagoner County District Court to one count of offering false evidence and one count of possession of controlled dangerous substance. Bickel today also pleaded guilty to an Oklahoma County charge of perjury. She received a deferred five-year judgment on each count with supervised probation and was ordered to pay a total of $7,000 in fines. She was also ordered to complete a drug assessment and evaluation, and to complete any treatment determined as necessary. Bickel’s deferred judgments will run concurrently.

Keeter, 74, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted subornation of perjury in both Wagoner and Cherokee County District Courts for his alleged schemes to help witnesses deceive the grand jury. Keeter received a suspended five-year sentence per count and was ordered to pay fines of $2,500. Keeter’s suspended sentences will run concurrently.

Keeter pleaded guilty in June to two counts of perjury in Oklahoma County District Court and was ordered to serve suspended five-year sentences to run concurrently on each count. He was also ordered pay $2,500 in fines. Keeter was indicted for twice providing false testimony to the grand jury.

Court documents state Keeter suggested to Bickel she could explain to the grand jury that the drugs in her purse stuck to her gloves/hands by static electricity.

Bickel was represented by Muskogee attorney Chad Richardson. Keeter was represented by Mark Green, also of Muskogee. Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick prosecuted the cases.

Richardson said Bickel could face a range of penalties in relation to her license to practice law. He said she could receive anything from a letter of reprimand to a permanent ban. Bickel said she does plan to continue practicing law until told otherwise. Richardson said he will speak to the Oklahoma Bar Association concerning Bickel in the near future.

State investigators have alleged Gray helped cover up drug crimes within his district and refused to help outside agencies looking into certain drug cases. The investigation has also resulted in wiretaps being placed on phone conversations involving Gray, Bickel and Keeter.

McCormick said the help provided by Bickel and Keeter has been significant because of their roles in the DA’s office. She could not comment on the specifics of the investigation.

“The investigation centers around a bag of methamphetamine investigators allege Bickel took from a Tahlequah crime scene,” Edmondson said. “When the evidence was discovered missing, she allegedly obtained more meth and tried to pass it off as the original evidence. During our investigation, we allege she lied to the grand jury, and that Keeter allegedly helped her formulate those lies and lied to the grand jury himself.”

The attorney general’s office conducted the investigation in conjunction with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

The state’s multicounty grand jury investigation continues Sept. 19.


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