Tulsa's medical examiner lists cause of death for four women killed in apartment
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor & JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/18/13 at 2:08 PM
Correction: A Thursday Tulsa World story incorrectly listed the date of Misty Nunley’s funeral service. The service will be held at noon Jan. 26 at Southern Hills Baptist Church, 2218 E. 56th Place. This story has been corrected.
Get the latest news on the Fairmont Terrace homicides: Read coverage of the apartment complex killings and on other homicides in the area nearby.
The four women found dead in a Tulsa apartment last week each died from a gunshot wound to the head, the Medical Examiner's Office reported.
Preliminary reports list the cause of death for each woman as a gunshot wound to the head, Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Wednesday. The manner of each death was ruled homicide.
The full autopsy reports were not yet available, and no further details were released about the shootings.
Misty Nunley, 33; Rebeika Powell, 23; Kayetie Powell Melchor, 23; and Julie Jackson, 55, were pronounced dead Jan. 7 in an apartment at the Fairmont Terrace complex near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.
"She is a person who is so, so loved and will be so missed."
Meanwhile, Tulsa County Associate District Judge Dana Kuehn increased the bail amount Wednesday for Freddie Allen Hayes, 32, whom officials identified in a court document as, "at a minimum, a witness in these homicides."
Hayes' bail was increased from $11,000 to $250,000, and charges of carrying a concealed weapon and drug possession were filed against him, court records show.
Those charges are not related to the killings, and no arrests have been made in the homicide case.
Cheryl Nunley said she has been overwhelmed at the support she has received following the shooting deaths of her daughter and the three other women and is encouraged by the apparent break in the case.
"The amount of people who have stepped up - it has just been amazing," Nunley told the Tulsa World on Wednesday.
A service for Misty Nunley is set for noon Jan. 26 at Southern Hills Baptist Church.
Misty Nunley was staying with twin sisters Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Powell Melchor when the slayings occurred. Jackson was a neighbor who apparently had gone to check on the younger women.
Funeral services for the other victims have already been held. Cheryl Nunley said Southern Hills Baptist Church offered to hold services for her daughter after hearing about the family's financial difficulties.
"They have so graciously donated their time and their effort," Nunley said of church officials. "They are actually going to do a slide show, and they have done this all out of the kindness of their heart. We don't even go to church there."
Nunley said employees at Marshall Elementary School, where Misty Nunley's 8-year-old daughter is a student, also donated funds to prepare materials for the service.
Nunley said Misty Nunley also had a 19-year-old daughter who started classes at a career college in Tulsa this week.
The older daughter has a child, making Misty Nunley a young grandmother.
A Tulsa barber shop has also collected donations to help pay for funeral expenses, Cheryl Nunley said.
"I was absolutely overwhelmed. We don't have much money, and when all this first came out, they really dehumanized my daughter," she said.
Although her daughter had a criminal record, "she wasn't a ne'er-do-well ex-convict that they made her out to be on TV," Nunley said. "She is a person who is so, so loved and will be so missed."
Misty Nunley had known the Powell sisters for about a month, Cheryl Nunley said.
"I appreciate the girls giving her a roof over her head. ... It's not just anyone that just opens up their home like that."
Nunley said she is encouraged by news that police have identified a "person of interest" in the case.
"I made my daughter and my grandchildren a promise that I would do everything in my power to find out who took her away from us," Nunley said. "She's not ever going to be forgotten. ... This is not going to go unpunished."
While she hopes for an eventual arrest and conviction in the killings, "closure is not going to bring my daughter back," she said.
"It's not going to take away the fear she felt before she died. It's not going to bring these children's mother back."
Rebeika Powell's 3-year-old son was found unharmed in the apartment after the killings.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office filed a motion Tuesday requesting the increase in Hayes' bail, records show.
Hayes has "been identified as, at a minimum, a witness in these homicides," according to the motion. "The investigation also has discovered evidence that points to the Defendant (as) a 'person of interest' in the four killings," the motion states.
Hayes, of Tulsa, was arrested Friday after a caller reported suspicious behavior.
"Given the nature of the crimes, the State argues that the Defendant is a potential public safety risk to the community as well as a risk to flee the jurisdiction should he be released," Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond wrote in the motion.
Tulsa County District Court records from 2011 show that Hayes listed an address in an apartment complex in the 6000 block of South Newport Avenue, near Fairmont Terrace. After his arrest Friday, Hayes' address was listed as being in the 700 block of North Columbia Avenue.
The motion by the District Attorney's Office states that Hayes is a flight risk and that his criminal history also warrants the increase in his bail.
His criminal history includes armed robbery, manufacturing and possession of drugs, aggravated battery and child endangerment in Louisiana, according to the motion.
Hayes moved to Oklahoma from Louisiana in 2006 while on parole for a felony drug conviction, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Massie said the Corrections Department "accepted him for supervision on June 2, 2006," from Acadia Parish, La.
Hayes was serving the remainder of a four-year prison sentence for distribution of cocaine, Massie said.
"We closed him out in November 2008 when his supervision period ended," he said. At the time, Hayes lived in Broken Arrow and had no parole violations on his record, Massie said.
Original Print Headline: ME lists cause of death for four
Ziva Branstetter 918-581-8306 Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310