Co-defendant is trial's first witness
BY Bill Braun World Staff Writer
Jun 5, 1998
9/03/08 at 6:48 AM
Co-defendant Marcus Terrell Currie
told jurors Thursday that after he
grabbed a purse from Michelle Hendrix
outside a Tulsa health clinic he "heard
a lot of shots" and saw Steven Antonio
White holding a .38-caliber handgun.
Currie, 17, testified that after hearing
shots while running toward a car where
White and Jamie Nicole Chambers waited, he glanced at "Michelle Hendrix on
Currie testified that he and White had
discussed getting some "fast money" in
order to buy crack cocaine.
After a selection process that spanned
four days, a jury was seated Thursday
for the first-degree murder trial of
White, 19, of Tulsa. Prosecutors are
seeking the death penalty.
Currie is also charged with murder,
but he is not on trial now. He was the
first prosecution witness and testified
for about 20 minutes before District
Judge Jesse Harris recessed court until
Friday, when Currie returns to the witness stand.
Hendrix, 30, of Sapulpa, was fatally
shot outside the John Tomblin Memorial Health Center, 2828 W. 51st St., on
the afternoon of Feb. 29, 1996.
She was holding her 5-month-old
daughter in a carrier and holding the
hand of her 2-year-old daughter as she
went to her car after leaving the clinic.
No shots struck her children, police
Assistant District Attorney John Priddy told jurors that Hendrix was at the
clinic to get vouchers for baby formula,
but White was on a "different mission."
Evidence indicates that a "defenseless
mother" was shot twice "in front of her
children" and that White fired other
shots that missed when people emerged
from the clinic in an effort to help the
fallen woman and her children, the
prosecutor told jurors.
White is also on trial for two counts
of shooting with intent to kill.
Priddy indicated that there will be
testimony that Hendrix's purse had no
money and that White "killed her for a
purse he threw out the window" of the
White's attorney, Stan Monroe, said
there will be "significant conflicts
in the testimony as to who actually
Monroe urged jurors to "carefully weigh" the testimony of prosecution witnesses
who are seeking
leniency or a reduced charge.
Chambers, who has said she
drove White and Currie from the
scene, is free on $25,000 bail on
an accessory charge and is listed
as a potential prosecution witness.
In Oklahoma City on Thursday,
the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed rulings by Tulsa
judges that certified Chambers for
prosecution as an adult.
Chambers, of Tulsa, is now 20.
She was 17 when Hendrix was
slain and 19 when she was initially
charged 18 months later. Testifying as a prosecution witness at a
1996 preliminary hearing, Chambers said she had no idea that any
crime would be committed until
right before Hendrix was shot.
White and Currie have been in
custody since March 1996.
Monroe told jurors that "valuable
evidence has been lost by the Tulsa Police Department."
Police said a .38-caliber revolver
was recovered from White's garage.
Because bullet projectiles recovered after the shooting were misplaced
in the Tulsa Police Department property room and could not
be found to let the defense conduct an independent analysis,
Judge Harris ruled that jurors will
not hear evidence from a police
firearm examiner who prosecutors
indicated would link that revolver
to the Hendrix shooting.
Bill Braun can be reached at 581-8455 .