- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley said Thursday she’s taking private measures to beef up her personal security after an explosive device detonated in her home mailbox earlier this week.

The device went off at Steidley’s Verdigris residence on Tuesday - the same day she was cleared by a multi-county grand jury of accusations brought by local law enforcement officials alleging wrongdoing, including witness tampering. Steidley told The Associated Press Thursday she believes the two events are related and that someone was trying to send her a message that she could be harmed in her home.

A message left with Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton, who had called for an investigation of Steidley’s office, was not immediately returned Thursday. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who authorized the grand jury to look into the allegations, said the state agency was not involved in the investigation of Tuesday’s explosion.

Steidley said her family is still in shock over the explosion, which was strong enough to blow the door off her mailbox.

“It hits you on a different level when it comes to your personal home, your sanctuary,” Steidley said in an interview. “I’m definitely concerned; I’m going to be taking private security measures. I don’t appreciate what they’ve done - it’s inexcusable.” Steidley declined to specify what extra precautions she’s taking.

Authorities have not released information on what type of device was used, only that it was discovered by a mail carrier after it had exploded and that Steidley wasn’t at home when it went off.

Leslie McClain, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Fort Worth, Texas, said the agency could not comment on the details of the case because the investigation is still open.

The same day as the blast, Steidley learned that a grand jury had found no probable cause to charge or remove her from office. The grand jury’s 74-page report said the allegations - including an accusation she conspired to manufacture bogus allegations of perjury against a Claremore police officer who had publicly criticized the office for poor performance and corruption - were not criminal in nature.

However, it noted the investigation “revealed an alarming lack of respect, civility and overall professionalism” in the district attorney’s relationship with Rogers County law enforcement agencies that has elevated tensions.

Steidley said in a news conference Wednesday that she had reached out to some of the officials involved in the grand jury petition brought against her office. The probe was requested in a petition signed by thousands of Rogers County residents.

“I’ve been vindicated but the smear is there,” Steidley said. “That was the goal, and they’ve accomplished that.”


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