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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Oklahoma

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Employees Of The United States Attorney's Office For The Eastern District Of Oklahoma Honored By Department Of Justice

Deputy AG Sally Yates, EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson recognize select employees at event in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – Assistant United States Attorneys Dean Burris and Linda Epperley, Victim/Witness Specialist Mary Jo Speaker and Legal Assistant Leslie Hood of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma were four of 160 recipients recognized by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 32nd annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

The Eastern District of Oklahoma was one of 33 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In her prepared remarks, Deputy Attorney General Yates said, “The achievements being recognized today reflect the breadth of the department’s responsibilities, and some of our most significant challenges.   From dismantling dangerous gangs, drug cartels and human trafficking operations to tackling political corruption, white collar crimes, and international terrorism, these awardees have taken on our toughest cases.  And the citizens of our country are safer because of their work.”

“We honor the truly talented and dedicated legal and administrative personnel in the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and our law enforcement partners who everyday touch lives in our communities, protect the American people, and work to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice,” said Director Wilkinson.

Dean Burris, Linda Epperley, Mary Jo Speaker and Leslie Hood were recognized for the prosecution of Dakota Williston for the Indian Country murder of two-year old Payton Cockrell which occurred on July 23, 2013.   Williston was found guilty in a jury trial held in June 2015.  At sentencing, Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Oklahoma James H. Payne sentenced Williston to life in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Mark Green, commended his staff by stating, “This case presented an extremely challenging set of facts.  To achieve justice for Payton and her family took outstanding effort and teamwork for the prosecution team.  We in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma are extremely proud of these deserving recipients.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Updated June 1, 2016