Two suspects in shooting spree face murder charges plus hate crime counts
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Saturday, April 14, 2012
12/28/12 at 8:57 AM
The two men who are accused of fatally shooting three people and injuring two others last week were formally charged Friday with the shootings and with violating Oklahoma's hate crime statute.
Jacob Carl England, 19, and Alvin Lee Watts, 33, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious intimidation or harassment (hate crimes) for the shooting spree on April 6.
Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31, were shot to death in the early morning hours of April 6. David Hall, 46, and Deon Tucker, 44, were both shot but survived their injuries.
All of the victims were black. England and Watts are listed in court records as white.
Authorities have said they think the two defendants drove through north Tulsa and randomly shot black people they saw outside before daylight on Good Friday.
"Filing charges is the first step to obtain justice for the victims and their families," said Doug Drummond, Tulsa County first assistant district attorney. "This is a tragic and senseless crime. Our office is committed to holding those responsible accountable for their actions."
Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster said in a press conference Friday afternoon that he will defend England at no charge.
Brewster said that after meeting with England in the Tulsa Jail and reading a letter from England's mother, Teri Alexander, who is imprisoned in the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, he does not believe England has any animosity toward the black community.
No attorney has been listed for Watts, according to court records.
In a press release from the District Attorney's Office, Drummond said the charges, including the malicious intimidation charges, came after prosecutors "reviewed the evidence and determined these charges to be appropriate."
An affidavit filed April 13 by the Tulsa Police Department states that detectives spoke with Tucker, who said he was on his porch about 1 a.m. when a white pickup driven by a white man pulled up in front of his house. The person asked for directions, and Tucker told him the address was down the street, according to the affidavit.
When he walked away from the truck, he "heard three shots and realized he had been shot," the affidavit states. The truck drove west on 51st Place North.
Fields' body was found about a half mile west on the same street, the affidavit states.
Clark's body was found in the 300 block of West 63rd Street North, where witnesses said they saw a white truck with its headlights off drive east out of the neighborhood shortly after the shooting.
The affidavit states that several Crime Stoppers tips were received, one of which said England "should be a person of interest for the shootings."
The tip went on to state that England "is a racist and hates black males," according to the affidavit.
Officers then learned that England's father, Carl England, was shot and killed by Parnell Jefferson, a black man, two years before the shooting spree.
Jacob England and Watts were arrested early Sunday after a task force was formed to investigate the crimes.
According to Oklahoma statute, malicious harassment occurs when a person acts "maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability." The statute provides a maximum sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The charges state that each of the victims was shot because of his or her "race, color, ancestry or national origin."
Each of the first-degree murder charges carries a potential sentence of life with parole, life without parole or the death penalty. The shooting with intent to kill charges each carry a maximum of life in prison.
Drummond said prosecutors will decide whether to pursue the death penalty after the preliminary hearing is concluded.
"In a case of this magnitude, often there is much speculation as to the evidence or what might happen down the road," Drummond said.
"The simple fact is that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They have the absolute right to a fair legal process and trial. At the appropriate time, our office will present the evidence, and ultimately, the fate of these defendants will be determined."
Prosecutors also filed a motion Friday to hold England and Watts without bail, a request that was granted by Judge William Hiddle. Bail for both men was set on Monday at $9.16 million, but they are now being held without the opportunity to post bond, jail records show.
The next court appearance for England and Watts is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at the Tulsa County Courthouse.
Check back at tulsaworld.com for more updates. Find complete coverage at tulsaworld.com/shootings.
Original Print Headline: Suspects in spree charged
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Jacob Carl England and Alvin Lee Watts: The first assistant district attorney said defendants England and Watts "are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They have the absolute right to a fair legal process and trial."
Doug Drummond: The first assistant district attorney said defendants England and Watts "are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They have the absolute right to a fair legal process and trial."