Good Friday shooting suspects bound over for trial
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
8/14/12 at 10:15 PM
In a case that brought national attention to Tulsa, a judge on Tuesday ordered two men held for trial on charges linked to the Good Friday shootings of five people, three of whom died, in what has been called a racially motivated hate crime.
At a preliminary hearing, Tulsa County Special Judge David Youll bound Jacob Carl England and Alvin Lee Watts over on five felonies — three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
After the hearing, First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond indicated that prosecutors will evaluate the case to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.
England and Watts are accused of shooting five black people at four different locations in north Tulsa in the early hours of April 6.
The defendants each face murder counts linked to the fatal shootings of Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.
The counts of shooting with intent to kill relate to two victims, David Hall and Deon Tucker, who survived their wounds.
England, who records show turned 20 last week, and Watts, 33 are also charged with five misdemeanor counts of malicious intimidation or harassment (hate crimes).
On Tuesday, Youll denied a defense request to suppress as evidence statements England made to police.
England’s lawyers have asserted that while police read England his “Miranda” warnings — which concern the right to remain silent, the right to have a lawyer present and other rights — Detective Vic Regalado undermined those warnings.
Attorney Clark Brewster, representing England, has asserted that Regalado, in assuring England that a recorded conversation was confidential, contradicted a previous Miranda warning that anything England said “can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
While Youll denied the request to suppress England’s statements to police as evidence, the defense can raise the issue again in front of the prospective trial judge, District Judge Kurt Glassco.
Brewster indicated that at some point, England’s statement to police “is going out the window.”
Watts’ attorney, Deputy Chief Public Defender Shena Burgess, maintained that his arrest was illegal and that therefore any evidence and statements attributed to him should be suppressed.
Youll denied that motion, which can also be raised again in front of Glassco.
In a court document, Drummond wrote that Watts, when interviewed by police, “initially minimized his role in the shootings but subsequently detailed how he and England committed the crimes.”
Watts admitted that he killed Fields and Clark and told police that England killed Allen and wounded Hall and Tucker, the prosecutor’s filing says.
When England was questioned, he indicated that he shot three people, according to Drummond.
The misdemeanor hate crimes counts were not at issue at the two-day preliminary hearing, which began July 18.
England and Watts were arrested April 8. The defendants are listed in court records as white, although there was testimony that England is an American Indian.
England’s father, Carl England, was shot and killed by Pernell Jefferson, a black man, in April 2010 — two years before the Good Friday shootings.
In that homicide, Tulsa County prosecutors ruled that Jefferson acted in justifiable self-defense.
Jacob England is escorted back to the courtroom during a break in the continuation of his and Alvin Watts' preliminary hearing at the Tulsa County courthouse ON Tuesday. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Jacob England and Alvin Watts