District Attorney John Wampler has announced that he is retiring, effective April 1, 2016, after more than 25 years of service to the citizens of District Three. Wampler was first elected in 1990 and since that time has been re-elected six times without opposition. He is currently the longest serving District Attorney in the state.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have served in this capacity and to have had the opportunity to work with our area law enforcement, judges, attorneys and other public servants,” said Wampler. “They are some of the finest in the state of Oklahoma. I am truly blessed that the citizens of this District saw fit to elect me in 1990 and entrusted the powers and responsibilities of the office of District Attorney to me for the last 25 years.”
Since becoming District Attorney, Wampler has three times been chosen by his fellow prosecutors to serve as President of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association and as Chairman of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council. He currently is representing Oklahoma District Attorneys on the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association and previously served on the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission. In 2009, he was honored as the Prosecutor of the Year by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Wampler’s successor to complete the 2 1/2 years remaining on his term of office was named today by Governor Mary Fallin. Gov. Fallin has appointing Ken Darby as District Attorney
Darby, of Duke, will take over as chief prosecutor for Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties for the reminder of Wampler’s term, which expires in 2019.
“Ken Darby is the ideal choice to serve District 3,” said Fallin. “He has dedicated his career to serving the people of southwest Oklahoma as a prosecutor and municipal judge.”
Wampler recommended Darby, who currently serves as his top assistant, to replace him.
Darby has 29 years of law enforcement experience. That includes 20 years as a prosecutor in District 3. His law enforcement career began in 1979 as a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Darby earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1989. He worked as a legal intern for the Cleveland County district attorney’s office while he was in school, then began his first stint at a prosecutor in District 3 in 1991. Darby spent eight years as an assistant district attorney before moving into private practice with an Altus law firm for five years.
He rejoined Wampler’s staff in 2004, and has served as first assistant since 2007. Darby also has served as a part-time municipal court judge in Altus since 2003.
Wampler was born in Altus and raised in the Duke community where he has lived all of his life. Five generations of his family have made Southwest Oklahoma their home. His parents, the late Wilbur and Lillian Wampler, were in the grocery business in Duke for many years.
After graduating from Duke High School in 1971, Wampler attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford where he graduated in 1974 with a B.A. degree in Political Science. That fall, he entered the University of Oklahoma College of Law and graduated there with a Juris Doctor degree in 1977.
While attending the OU College of Law, Wampler was employed on the staff of Governor David L. Boren until completing law school when he returned to Altus and entered the private practice of law. He practiced law for the next thirteen years with the late Bob Scarbrough until deciding to run for District Attorney.
Wampler served as the Municipal Judge for the City of Altus for over 11 years and also served as the Municipal Judge for Hollis and City Attorney for the Town of Blair. He also served a term on the Duke Town Board. His civic service has included serving on the Jackson County United Way Board of Directors, Jackson County Red Cross Board of Directors, Altus Jaycees, Duke and Altus Chambers of Commerce, Jackson County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association. He has served as President of the Duke Chamber of Commerce, Duke Alumni Association and the Jackson County Bar Association.
In 1999, Wampler married Kendi Brown of Wichita Falls, Texas, and they make their home in Duke where they also enjoy a small farm and ranch operation. They have four sons; Scott and his wife Tasha, Chris, Konnor, Cameron and three grandchildren, Grace, Sadie and Landon. Kendi, a former Miss Oklahoma in 1978, owns and operates a dance studio in Weatherford, Oklahoma and is active in the Miss Oklahoma organization assisting several local pageants including the Miss Altus Pageant and the Miss Southwestern pageant.
The Wamplers are members of the Duke First Baptist Church. He also served a term on the State Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention.