Defense attorneys in Good Friday shooting challenge legality of statements as evidence
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
12/28/12 at 9:05 AM
Lawyers for two men who are accused of murdering three people on Good Friday seek to suppress as evidence statements attributed to the defendants.
In court documents filed Monday, attorneys for Jacob Carl England and Alvin Lee Watts contend that police took their clients' statements in violation of their constitutional rights.
A preliminary hearing for England, 19, and Watts, 33, is set for Wednesday before Tulsa County Special Judge David Youll.
England and Watts are each charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with an intent to kill.
They are also charged with five misdemeanor counts of malicious intimidation or harassment (hate crimes).
The two defendants, 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.
The murder counts stem from the deaths of Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.
The two shooting counts relate to victims David Hall and Deon Tucker, who survived their injuries.
Tulsa police recorded an interrogation of England after his April 8 arrest, and a document filed previously by First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond says that "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.''
A motion filed by Rob Nigh, one of England's attorneys, says that although detectives read England the "Miranda" warnings - which concern the right to remain silent - detectives later made assurances to England that "undermined those warnings."
Detective Vic Regalado relied upon his past relationship with England "to convince him to waive his Fifth Amendment rights," Nigh's filing asserts. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution includes the right not to incriminate oneself.
Regalado told England that he played a "major role in the investigation of the shooting death" of Carl England - Jacob's father - in April 2010, Nigh contends.
Deputy Chief Public Defender Shena Burgess maintains that Watts' arrest was illegal and that therefore any evidence and statements arising out of the arrest should be suppressed.
Watts was arrested without a warrant, and while there are exceptions when an officer can arrest someone without a warrant, Watts' case "does not fall into the exceptions," according to Burgess.
Drummond said attorneys routinely file motions in the course of advocating for their clients and that, ultimately, a judge decides whether a motion has merit.
Check back at tulsaworld.com for more updates. Find complete coverage at tulsaworld.com/shootings.
Original Print Headline: Lawyers ask to suppress statements on slayings
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Jacob England (left) and Alvin Watts: Each is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with an intent to kill.