The assistant district attorney who was working the state’s case against a former Luther band teacher charged with sexual misconduct with a student has been appointed an Oklahoma County District Judge.
Governor Mary Fallin today announced she is appointing Michele McElwee to a district judge post in Oklahoma County. She will replace District Judge Bernard Jones, who resigned in July to become a federal magistrate in Oklahoma City.
McElwee, of Edmond, currently works as a prosecutor in Oklahoma County.
According to the news release from the Governor’s office, McElwee spent about five years as a public school teacher and coach before she entered law school at Oklahoma City University. She worked for former Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Reta Strubhar while she completed her degree.
McElwee spent a year in the Oklahoma County public defender’s office after graduating in 2004 before joining the district attorney’s office. Except for a three-month stint in private practice, she has been a prosecutor ever since and currently is part of the special victims unit in the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office. The unit handles sex crimes and crimes against children.
McElwee, a Millwood High School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma in 1994.
On March 4, McElwee argued against a bond-reduction hearing for Kyle Whitmus saying that as a teacher, Whitmus was in a position of power over his alleged victim. Bond was set at $200,000 at the time of Whitmus’ arrest in Februrary. In denying the bond reduction, Judge Glenn Jones, who will soon share the bench with McElwee, said his decision would help protect the community of Luther.
Whitmus is represented by Norman attorney Sam Talley who tried to get bond reduced for his client so he could stay with family and work while awaiting trial. The next court appearance is April 18.