Good Friday shootings defendants due in court Wednesday
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Monday, July 16, 2012
12/28/12 at 8:54 AM
A triple homicide case that attracted national attention to Tulsa is scheduled to proceed in a Tulsa County courtroom this week.
A preliminary hearing for two Tulsa men, accused of fatally shooting three people and wounding two others on Good Friday, is set for Wednesday.
Jacob Carl England and Alvin Lee Watts are each charged with five felonies - three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with an intent to kill. England, 19, and Watts, 33, are also charged with five misdemeanor counts of malicious intimidation or harassment (hate crimes).
The case drew headlines and news coverage from across the country in April.
England and Watts, who are listed in court records as white, are accused of shooting five black people at random as they drove through a largely black area of Tulsa in the early hours of April 6.
Although the hate-crime allegations have garnered considerable attention, those counts won't be at issue at Wednesday's hearing, attorneys say. In Oklahoma, defendants do not get preliminary hearings on misdemeanor charges.
The focus Wednesday will be on murder charges involving slaying victims Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.
The two shooting counts relate to two victims, David Hall and Deon Tucker, who survived their injuries.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said prosecutors plan to call 10 to 12 witnesses at the hearing, which will likely be handled by Special Judge David Youll.
Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster announced in April that he was representing England and said he made that decision after getting a letter from England's mother, who asked for his help.
Brewster said a "comprehensive approach" is being taken in terms of a defense strategy on England's behalf.
Watts is represented by the Tulsa County Public Defenders Office, which obtained court orders for the release of records from psychiatric and behavioral-health facilities regarding Watts, court records show.
Public records filed in the case give no indication that the issue of mental competency is being raised on behalf of either defendant.
In all charges, England and Watts are alleged to have acted in concert with each other. They were arrested April 8.
A court document filed previously by Drummond says that based on police reports, "the evidence includes admissions by both defendants as to their involvement in the three murder charges and the two SWIK (shooting with intent to kill) charges.''
Police learned that England's father, Carl England, was shot and killed by Parnell Jefferson, a black man, on April 5, 2010 - two years before the shooting spree.
In that shooting, Tulsa County prosecutors ruled that Jefferson acted in justifiable self-defense.
According to state 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.
In this case, the charges assert that each of the five victims was shot because of his or her "race, color, ancestry or national origin."
Drummond has indicated that a decision regarding the possibility of requesting the death penalty will be made by the District Attorney's Office after the preliminary hearing.
'I sincerely hope that isn't presented," Brewster said.
At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution must introduce sufficient evidence to convince a judge that there is "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed and probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime.
Check back at tulsaworld.com for more updates. Find complete coverage at tulsaworld.com/shootings.
Original Print Headline: Hearing this week in shooting of 5 people
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Jacob Carl England and Alvin Lee Watt: A preliminary hearing for two Tulsa men, accused of fatally shooting three people and wounding two others on Good Friday, is set for Wednesday.