OKLAHOMA CITY — Daniel Holtzclaw is answering questions for the first time since his conviction on 18 criminal counts of rape and sexual assault.
The case grabbed national headlines after 13 Oklahoma City women accused the officer of sexual attacks while on duty for the Oklahoma City Police Department.
NewsChannel 4’s Ali Meyer is the only Oklahoma City reporter who has spoken to Holtzclaw since his conviction.
Holtzclaw is several months into his 263 year prison sentence.
He is in Oklahoma state custody being held in a secret location using an alias for protection and settling into life behind bars as a convicted serial rapist.
Sex crimes detective Kim Davis admits she was skeptical at first. Afterall, false claims against police are not uncommon.
“I didn’t ever want to believe a police officer could do this, and I certainly didn’t want to put a police officer in prison,” Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis said. “Everything, as we kept going day by day plugging along, was pointing that he did this. All the evidence was showing that he did this.”
On the day of Holtzclaw’s police interrogation, right after Davis had met with the first victim, Janie Liggons, Davis says she knew there would be more.
“After Janie was investigated, there was DNA on his pants that was female DNA that was unknown,” Davis said. “It didn’t match Janie. We knew he didn’t just say I’m going to pull this lady over and sexually assault her. There had to be something that built up to it. There had to be other victims out there.”
For the next six months, detectives hunted for victims; African-American women who’d been run through the police database by officer Holtzclaw with horrific stories of sexual abuse that lined up with his squad car GPS.
“He wasn’t stupid in the way he committed these crimes,” Davis said. “He took them places where he knew there wouldn’t be witnesses.”
The allegations were jaw-dropping; an Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting women while he was on duty.
The prosecution had GPS, DNA and more than a dozen accusers.
Prosecutor Gayland Gieger went to trial with 13 accusers. He got convictions for eight.
“The reason they are victims is because Daniel Holtzclaw profiled them and picked them on purpose ,” Gieger said.
As many as nine other accusers came forward, including a man, with stories of inappropriate contact and sexual violence that were not proved. Or in one case an admitted lie.
Daniel Holtzclaw says all of the allegations are made up. He says the accusers are trying to take advantage of a system too quick to convict a cop.
“These detectives, they kinda led them. They let them to basically give them a lottery ticket,” Holtzclaw said. “The investigation as far as approaching these women saying we have a tip you’ve been sexually assaulted by an Oklahoma City police officer. You know. You’re opening the floodgates. You’re opening the door. All they had to do was say yes.”
“‘Well they had it in for me.’ It’s just like is like everything else he has said during this case,” Gieger said. “The reason it makes no sense is because he is a liar and a serial rapist.”
Holtzclaw never took the stand. The jury never heard the defense from his own mouth.
“In Daniel’s mind, he didn’t do anything wrong. He is above these people. These people are beneath him. And he didn’t do anything wrong,” Davis said. “I feel like if Daniel wasn’t guilty and he wanted people to know he wasn’t guilty. He had every opportunity to get on the stand and explain his story.”
Daniel Holtzclaw sat in silence for weeks during his trial. He said not one word until the very end.
Holtzclaw now says he can barely remember those moments in court as the verdict was being read, when he realized he would be going to prison for a lifetime.
“I was very emotional,” said Holtzclaw. “I was shell-shocked. I was dumbfounded when the verdict came down. The first one was a guilty. In my mind, I certainly believed I was going to be found acquitted. I was going to be able to be back with my family.”
This is his first interview since conviction. Holtzclaw called from prison because he is ready for the world to hear his side.
He says he does not feel any guilt or any remorse for the crimes.
“Absolutely not. I will not feel remorse for something I didn’t do. I am not guilty for any these crimes. I did not do anything of sexual nature. I did not come on to any of these women. I did my job to the fullest of my ability which I gave an oath, sworn to protect and serve and that’s what I did.”
He thought the jury would find him innocent.
He thought he’d walk out a free man.
“If anyone knows me they know that if I was guilty, I would be a man and I would tell my family, especially my father, ‘Don’t support me. Go ahead and go on. Let me be.’ I would let my family go… I’m not guilty of this.”
Four days of deliberation, the jury delivered convictions on half the charges, vindication for more than half the victims and enough years in prison to live three lifetimes behind bars.
They believe the investigation was flawed. They believe the DNA evidence introduced in trial was suspect. They believe police could easily find 13 women to point the finger at a tough cop.
Holtzclaw’s legal team is preparing an appeal. They are hopeful the appeal will establish grounds for a new trial.
NewsChannel 4 has requested an on-camera interview with Daniel Holtzclaw at the prison where he is being held.
So far, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has denied our request because of Holtzclaw’s protected status. They say it is for the safety of the inmate and the men and women who guard his facility.