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Killers of the Flower Moon - The Prosecution


Hi, y’all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan ‘10’/11). I have served ten years in Texas Law Enforcement and have earned a Master of Business Administration.

Take a trip with me back in time to the 1920’s. To time of booms and busts, to an era of glitz and greed, which built a powder keg of crime, corruption, and murder? We won’t even have to travel to Chicago. Let’s take a short drive to the rolling plains of North Eastern Oklahoma. Let’s turn the pages of “Killers of the Flower Moon.” By David Grann

Like all true crime stories there is the Prosecution …

The 1920’s, Osage County, City of Pawhuska, OK, wealthy members of the Osage Tribe that own oil ‘head rights’, have been dying or escaping death under questionable circumstances. First the Pinkerton and the Burn’s Detective Agencies were contracted to flush out the criminals, but due to the evidence trail getting cold, funds running out, and payoffs both Agencies abandon the investigation. Second the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation made an attempt, but due to corruption the investigation was closed.

The US Government’s Special Agent Tom White and his team with the Bureau of Investigation figured out who the killers were, William K. Hale and Ernest Burkhart. The federal prosecutors and Special Agent Tom White flipped Ernest Burkhart to build a better case against William Hale for murder and conspiracy.

Ernest Burkhart at first willingly provided information to federal prosecutors, then under questionable circumstances he changed his story. This made the prosecution’s case against William Hale more difficult. Eventually, Ernest Burkhart cooperated and a federal case was brought against William K. Hale.

A federal prosecutor stated a warning about Hale. Because of his power and influence it would be, “not only useless but positively dangerous” to try him in the Oklahoma State Courts. Through some federal legal maneuvers the federal prosecutors were able to again jurisdiction over the allegations of murder against William Hale.

On October the 29th of 1926, a federal jury found William K. Hale guilty of first degree murder.  The jury recommended life in prison, the judge accepted, and passed down the sentence of life in prison with forced hard labor.

Most likely a single conviction of murder against Mr. Hale was only a sliver of the crimes he committed. The conviction served as a tool to stop an organized crime outfit operating in Osage County. Just my opinion, Al Capone’s Tax Evasion conviction 9 years later was a comparable strategy