Read about Steve Kunzweiler's service for Tulsa County and his success in jury trials.
Steve’s prosecution and trial record is outstanding. He also serves as mentor and supervisor to 35 assistant district attorneys and oversees prosecution of several thousand felony and misdemeanor cases each year. Not content to just “manage a docket” Steve also works outside the office with law enforcement, legislators and many others across the community to improve our criminal justice system, and protect the citizens of Tulsa County.
Steve currently serves on:
- The Governor’s Impaired Driving Prevention Advisory Council.
- The Attorney General’s Task Force on Human Trafficking.
- The Board of the Victim’s Impact Panel of Oklahoma, a non-profit dedicated to reducing drunk driving.
- Does training for police and fire departments across Tulsa County.
- Does child abuse report training for social workers and other community agencies.
- Speaks at Tulsa County schools and churches on issues of drunk driving, substance abuse, elder abuse.
Steve has worked with several state legislators to improve our Oklahoma criminal laws:
- Steve’s proposal to expand the statute of limitations for the reporting of child abuse was signed into Oklahoma law.
- His suggestion to increase the range of punishment for drunk driving offenders who seriously injure their victims was signed into Oklahoma law.
- Steve proposed legislation to allow the introduction of hearsay evidence for developmentally delayed children which became Oklahoma law.
- He proposed legislation to impeach repeat child abusers with their prior crimes and that measure became Oklahoma law.
Steve is the first prosecutor in the State of Oklahoma to use a therapy dog to assist and ease the stress of child abuse victims while they testify in court.
When children have suffered physical or emotional trauma, it is often difficult for them to speak of their experiences. Incorporating therapy dogs into courtroom settings for children who have been abused or neglected or have witnessed violence can help a child open up and promote the healing process.
When a child witness is accompanied to court by a dog that he or she has bonded with in pretrial preparations, the effects are immediate and profound. The trust, acceptance, and tactile comfort of a friendly dog changes the physiology of the nervous child. Human heart rate decreases and blood pressure falls in the presence of therapy dogs. The child may simply feel safer to recall past events, even with an audience of strange adults in the courtroom.
Jury Trial Success
Owasso Triple Homicide
Steve and Assistant DA Mickey Hawkins secured the death penalty in a murder trial for Clarence Goode in a 2005 home invasion. Ten-year-old Kayla Burchett, her mother Tara Burchett and Tara’s husband Mitch Thompson were shot to death. Co-defendant Kenneth Johnson received three consecutive sentences of Life without Parole.
Sperry Double Homicide
Mike Reeder and David Lujan were found shot to death and their bodies burned in Reeder’s Sperry home in 2008. Steve successfully prosecuted Travis Danley for the murders. The jury sentenced Danley to two consecutive prison terms of Life without Parole.
High School Senior Shot to Death
Kaitlyn Finnegan, a Bishop Kelley high school senior was shot to death in April 2009 by Theo Fleming while she was visiting friends in a mid-town Tulsa home. Fleming initially denied shooting Kaitlyn, but later claimed the shooting was accidental. Steve and Assistant DA Ben Fu successfully prosecuted Fleming at trial and the jury sentenced Fleming to 30 Years in prison.
Home Invasion Homicide
Guy Jones was in his Tulsa home with his infant son in 2009 when he was confronted by four intruders hired by Carmille Sulvetta to attack and rob him. Jones was beaten and stabbed to death. Steve and Assistant DA Ben Fu successfully prosecuted a total of six defendants and a secured two consecutive Life in prison sentences against Sulvetta for masterminding of the plot.
Sexual and Physical Child Abuse
Jermaine Burkhalter physically and sexually abused a girl in his care for five years - from the age of 13 to 18. Steve successfully prosecuted Burkhalter, obtaining three consecutive Life sentences for the sexual abuse counts and a total of 80 Years in prison for the physical abuse counts.
In October 2009 Tulsa physician Dr. David Browning was killed in a head-on collision with Scott Lewallen, who was driving while intoxicated by methamphetamine. Lewallen had a long history of driving under the influence. Steve successfully prosecuted Lewallen, obtaining a sentence of life in the penitentiary.
QuikTrip Double Homicide
On August 30, 2011 Kaylyn Kosofsky and Patrick Shawn were gunned down in a church parking lot adjacent to the QuikTrip at 71st Street and Riverside in Tulsa. After an extensive investigation Zane Atchison was identified as the shooter who was hired by Joel Pina to kill Patrick Shawn. DNA evidence connected Atchison to the scene of the crime. Steve and First Assistant Doug Drummond successfully prosecuted Atchison and Pina, securing two consecutive prison terms of Life without Parole for Atchison, and a Life sentence for Pina.
3rd Grade Teacher Victim of Drunk Driver
Susan Mamary, a teacher at Marquette Catholic School was driving near her Tulsa home in 2012 when her car was struck by a vehicle driven by Marquitta Littlebear. The impact killed Ms. Mamary. Littlebear fled the scene, leaving two injured children in her car. She was located one and one-half hours later. Laboratory testing determined that Littlebear had alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in her system. Steve secured a guilty verdict with sentences totaling 61 Years in prison.
Drug Induced Rape
Steve successfully prosecuted Gary Lee Tiger for the 1994 rape and sodomy of a victim which who was given a “date rape” drug. The jury gave Tiger a total of 35 Years in prison.