District attorney names top prosecutors, adds to staff

EL RENO – District Attorney Mike Fields will soon be adding two new assistants to his staff in Canadian County, and also has named his new first assistant district attorney after Paul Hesse was appointed to be the county’s new district judge

Fields said Wednesday that  Barry Retherford, who has served as a prosecutor in Blaine County for more than 16 years, has been named his first assistant district attorney.

Retherford will continue to work from his Blaine County office, but will be Fields’ representative when he is not available.

In addition, Eric Epplin, who has served as an assistant district attorney with Fields’ office in Kingfisher County will transfer to Canadian County to serve as his top assistant.

Epplin has been with District 4 for three years, Fields said. Prior to that he worked with the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office.

Epplin lives in Canadian County and had commuted to the Kingfisher County office, Fields said.

John Salmon will take over Epplin’s role in Kingfisher County, said Fields.

Meanwhile, Fields also has added Erika Gillock, a prosecutor in the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office. She is from Mustang.

Gillock and Salmon join the staff effective July 1.

Epplin will begin July 10.

All four moves are the result of Hesse’s appointment as the Canadian County district judge. He is scheduled to be sworn into office at 2 p.m. July 5 in the Canadian County Courthouse.

Fields said Hesse will do a good job as district judge.

“We’ve been working together for about 19 years. Paul is an outstanding prosecutor, he is a public servant of the highest order, and he is a close friend,” said Fields. “I am happy for him and excited about the opportunity that he has. …  I think him being a judge will be good for the justice system in Canadian County. But on a personal note, I hate to lose him.”

Fields said there will be a transition period, but overall the office is in good shape.

“Paul has left us in great shape and he has contributed a great deal to building the culture and the environment we have. That culture and environment is not going to leave when he leaves,” Fields said.

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