A former Cowley County sheriff’s deputy and bar owner has filed a request in Cowley County District Court to have the probable cause affidavit in his pending sex crime case sealed after the document was requested by an area news outlet, saying its release could possibly jeopardize his chance at a fair trial.
Blake Porter, who has been charged with one count each of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy, and two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, and his attorney Chad Giles filed the request Sept. 10. They requested the document be sealed due to the ongoing investigation of the case, the belief that release of the information could prejudice Porter’s right to a fair trial. The request said the court can revisit the request for release again as the case progresses.
The filing was prompted by a Sept. 3 request for the affidavit from a reporter at the KSN TV station in Wichita, according to a copy of the request.
Porter was arrested and booked into the Cowley County Jail on Aug. 22 on $5,000 bond. He has since posted bond and been released. His next court appearance is at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 25 in Winfield for a preliminary hearing setting.
Porter formerly owned O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill in Winfield for over a decade. The bar was closed in August 2010 as part of a bank foreclosure and later sold. He also worked as a Cowley County sheriff’s deputy from April 1, 1994 to April 30, 1996.
Several other recent cases involving sex crimes continue to make their way through Cowley County District Court, according to information from publicly available court documents and filings.
• Bert E. Backus Jr. has been charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14, with the perpetrator being 18 or older. The incident allegedly happened on March 23, 2019. Backus’ next court appearance is at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 18 in Winfield.
• Stephen D. Bilyeu Jr. is charged with five counts of rape against a child under 14 and seven counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, The incidents allegedly took place between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2016. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 in Arkansas City.
• Dakota A. Gaskill is charged with two counts of rape of a child under age 14 and two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, with the victim under age 14. The incidents allegedly happened May 30, 2019. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in Arkansas City.
• Jordan R. Hatfield is charged with one count of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of aggravated sexual battery, both against an unconscious or powerless victim age 16 or older. These incidents allegedly occurred Feb. 23, 2019. In a separate case, Hatfield was charged with two counts of having sex with a child under age 14 in incidents that allegedly occurred June 16, 2019. Hatfield was 17 when the above crimes allegedly occurred and was charged as a juvenile, but has since turned 18. On Aug. 7, county prosecutors filed a motion asking that Hatfield be charged as an adult. Their reasoning includes the premeditated nature of the crimes, Hatfield’s proximity to turning 18 when they occurred, pending adult charges for battery and criminal threat that occurred after Hatfield was incarcerated on the sex crimes, and that prosecuting Hatfield as an adult would better serve the public interest. A hearing on this motion is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in Arkansas City.
• Austin R. McKinney faces one charge of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14, with the offender being 18 or older, for an incident allegedly occurring June 12, 2018. McKinney has been evaluated at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility and found not competent to stand trial, according to court records. Cowley County District Court Judge Nicholas St. Peter signed an order for McKinney’s treatment at Larned, which was filed July 30.