Murder Conviction Overturned After Oklahoma Judge's Sexual Affair with Prosecutor Exposed

Judge Timothy Henderson
Judge Timothy Henderson Twitter

A man convicted of murder in Oklahoma will undergo a new trial after it was discovered that the judge who sentenced him had a sexual relationship with one of the prosecutors.

Robert Leon Hashagen III was convicted in February 2021 of murdering 94-year-old Evelyn Goodall in 2013. Following revelations that Judge Timothy Henderson had an undisclosed sexual relationship with one of the prosecutors in the case, Hashagen's attorneys appealed his conviction.

Henderson's Sexual Affair with Prosecutor 'Affects the Conduct of the Entire Trial'

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday ordered a new trial for Hashagen in a 3-2 decision that found "the undisclosed relationship violated Hashagen's due process rights."

"We find that the structural error cannot be found harmless as the sexual relationship between the trial judge and prosecutor 'affects the conduct of the entire trial and cannot be separated from it for the purpose of analysis,'" wrote Judge William Musseman, according to outlet The Oklahoman.

The judge added, "The failure of the judge and prosecutor to scrupulously avoid the potential for an error of this kind is indeed a betrayal of the high ethical standards to which all legal professions should aspire."

Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Henderson

Robert Leon Hashagen III
Robert Leon Hashagen III Twitter

Henderson, who is married, resigned in March 2021 after three female attorneys came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Henderson described the sexual involvement as consensual and said he maintained his role "as a neutral and detached judicial officer" at all times during the Hashagen case.

"My rulings were fair and supported by the evidence and facts presented by the attorneys," he said previously. A special prosecutor's investigation into the claims against Henderson did not find evidence of non-consensual sexual contact.

Henderson presided over a number of high-profile criminal trials as a judge, including that of ex-Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who Henderson sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after he was convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women while on his beat in Oklahoma City.