Adam Panter, who was first appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as Interim District Attorney for the last part of Allan Grubb’s term in 2022, has now officially taken his oath of office to serve as district attorney of Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties for the next four years.
Panter said he was notified by Gov. Stitt that he was also being appointed to fill the four-year term of David Hammer, who died few days after the election in June 2022. Hammer would have taken office this month; Panter was formally sworn in during ceremonies Jan. 3.
“I am incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of this district. I was honored to call David Hammer my friend and am going to do my best to uphold his legacy by establishing this as the best DA’s office in the State,” Panter said. “Moving forward, my focus will not be on the prior administration’s misdeeds, but rather, a focus on making our community safer.”
Panter said he and his team are currently reviewing murder cases as well as cases that were previously dismissed, while also conducting normal overall case reviews.
“My goal is to ensure that violent criminals and repeat offenders are held fully accountable for their actions, that victims are ensured a powerful voice on their behalf, and that effective and productive relationships with law enforcement are re-established,” he said. “I anticipate the results of these goals will be reflected in the courtroom in short order. To accomplish this, I am assembling a team of very experienced career prosecutors, each of which has dedicated their legal careers to seeking justice for victims of crime.”
So far, Panter’s team of prosecutors includes:* Adam Kallsnick has been named First Assistant District Attorney. Kallsnick was a former felony team leader office in the Oklahoma County DA’s office and is very experienced in complex homicide and violent crime prosecution, Panter said.* Lori McConnell will prosecute sex crimes, child abuse, and elder abuse. Panter said she’s spent her career with the Special Victim’s Unit team at Oklahoma County and “is one of the best trial lawyers I’ve seen.”* Ryan Stephenson will prosecute violent felony offenses. He was a felony team leader with Kallsnick and Panter in Oklahoma County and former head of the criminal division there. Stephenson has experience prosecuting death penalty cases, complex homicides and serial killers, Panter said.* Rachel Thompson will be assigned to the Chandler office in Lincoln County. Her career has been spent at the Oklahoma County office, with the last few years on the SVU team. Panter said she has experience with sex crimes, child abuse and violent crime prosecution.
Many support staff have remained at the office, he said, and he is also placing great emphasis on rebuilding relationships with local law enforcement. Panter said he wants to restore the public’s confidence in the district attorney’s office.
Panter was first appointed by Gov. Stitt in October to fill the remaining term of former District Attorney Allan Grubb, who resigned in September after the multi-county grand jury convened on matters relating to operations of his office and then recommended his dismissal. Grubb resigned before a dismissal hearing was held.
Grubb was elected to office in 2017 after narrowly defeating Panter in the District Attorney’s election that year and took office in January 2018 after the term ended for former District Attorney Richard Smothermon, who did not seek re-election.
Panter, who had served as First Assistant for Smothermon, remained a resident of Shawnee but began working as a prosecutor in Oklahoma County in 2018 and continued serving there until his appointment here in Pottawatomie County in late 2022.
Watch for updates.