Jesse McFadden, the convicted rapist who is believed to have killed his wife and five teenage girls on his rural Oklahoma property before killing himself, was already in state prison in 2017 when he was charged with new sex crimes stemming from his alleged use of contraband. Mobile phone. But he was released from prison in 2020 and his case languished in the court system for two and a half years.

On Monday, the same day he was scheduled to appear in a Muskogee County courthouse for the start of a jury trial, investigators searching for two missing teens last known to be with him executed a warrant for his arrest. trespass on your property. A local police chief said they made a grim discovery: Each of the seven bodies was shot in the head with a 9mm pistol.

The sudden tragedy and the chain of events that preceded it have the families of the victims and state legislators asking why McFadden was released if he was facing new charges of sex crimes allegedly committed while behind bars while serving a sentence for rape, and if the deaths could have been prevented

«There has to be repercussions and someone has to be held accountable,» said Justin Webster, father of 14-year-old Ivy Webster, who had been reported missing and was among the victims. told the Associated Press. «They let out a monster. They did this.»

State Rep. Scott Fetgatter, a Republican whose district includes the area south of Tulsa where the slayings occurred, said he hopes to introduce a bill this legislative session that would stop the release of inmates before they complete their sentences if they are charged. of committing certain sexual crimes, such as rape and child molestation, while incarcerated.

“At the end of the day, those five children who were killed in my district should be alive today, and instead they are not,” he said Thursday. «That’s my priority: How do I prevent this from happening again?»

McFadden was convicted in 2003 of first-degree rape and grand theft and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In court documents, McFadden, then 20, told officials that he was «hooked on drugs, vodka» and that he had «lost control of myself and raped a friend.» He also said that he stole $80,000 from his grandfather’s safe and «spent it on drugs and unnecessary things.»

The woman he raped was 17 years old, and he had tied her hands and feet to a bedpost, cut her shirt with a knife, and threatened to use the knife on her «if she didn’t shut up.» «, prosecutors said in a court filing.

From 2004 to 2010, McFadden was cited seven times for various offenses while in prison, including smoking and engaging in sexual conduct with another inmate, according to his misconduct form.

Then, he was cited once in 2013 and again in 2016 for possession of a cell phone. In December 2016, an audit of the electronic device he was allegedly using revealed «sexually-themed conversations, videos and images» with a girl of about 16 years of age.

An investigation by the state Department of Corrections led Muskogee County prosecutors to file child pornography charges and solicitation of sexual conduct/communication with a minor. A preliminary hearing and a trial were rescheduled several times.

Meanwhile, McFadden was on track to be released under a state law that allows those who commit violent crimes to be released after serving at least 85% of their sentence. Despite his history of misconduct, he was considered a «Ilevel 4 inmateReserved for those who meet their program requirements and maintain good personal hygiene and a satisfactory relationship with staff and others.

Based on the amount of prison time he had served, as well as the time he has already served in county jail, McFadden was eligible for release on October 30, 2020. After his release, he was arrested the following month for the new charges and jailed for five days. before he was released on $25,000 bail, records show.

Kay Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said that even though he was charged while already in prison, he had not yet been convicted, so he met the criteria for release. According to his criminal record, he earned his high school equivalency diploma and completed a Bible correspondence course called «A Country Called Heaven» and another 13-week course called «Cage Your Rage.»

Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Edwards did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said he CBS affiliate KOTV-DT in Tulsa that McFadden’s case has been plagued by unexpected delays over the years, including a prosecutor leaving for a new job, another breaking his foot before his scheduled trial date, and the pandemic of Covid caused a widespread gridlock in the legal system.

When McFadden was released, he had technically completed his sentence and was not on parole. But he was still required to register as a sex offender for life and registered with the local sheriff’s office every 90 days, as required, according to the Department of Corrections. Also, registered sex offenders can live with children as long as they do not commit crimes against them.

McFadden lived with his wife, Holly, whom he had married last year, Okmulgee County records show. Holly McFadden’s three children, Rylee Allen, 17, Michael Mayo, 15, and Tiffany Guess, 13, were among the victims.

Ivy and another victim, 15-year-old Brittany Brewer, were friends of Tiffany’s and usually slept at the rental property where the McFaddens lived outside the small town of Henryetta, the teens’ families said.

Authorities said Wednesday that all of the victims, as well as McFadden, were shot in the head. A reason was not immediately known.

Brittany’s father, Nathan Brewer, previously said McFadden seemed like a «nice, normal person» but now believes he should never have been released from prison after he was indicted in 2017. Officials should be held accountable for the deaths of the girls. victims, he said. aggregate.

Holly McFadden’s mother has also said her daughter didn’t know «the truth about Jesse McFadden» and that he «charmed her».

The state had planned to present evidence of McFadden’s «prior wrongdoing» at his trial that was scheduled to begin this week. In court documents, the state accused him of sending handwritten letters and text messages to the 16-year-old «in which he not only discussed their relationship, but also discussed things of a sexual nature and manipulated and controlled the victim.» «.

According to the state, the defense attorney planned to argue that McFadden was not in contact with the teen but with her 21-year-old friend, and that another inmate owned the phone she was allegedly using.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey, a Republican who chairs the Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, said he supports a change in the law that would prevent someone already in prison from being released if accused of a sex crime while behind bars.

«Who dropped the ball?» she asked. «Why did the trial take so long and why did they set bail at what some might consider such a low amount for someone who has been convicted of such a violent crime?»

Dan Medlock, a criminal defense attorney and former Muskogee County prosecutor, said the bail amount McFadden received is standard in the area.

But Humphrey said a broader look at the state’s justice system is warranted when a person accused of committing a sex crime while already in prison can be released.

«I don’t think we need a knee-jerk reaction, but when six people die, including children, that has to be something that makes us go to the drawing board and get this right and get a system that holds people accountable.» ,» he said.