Tulsa man denies role in meth-linked fire that killed baby
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 5:22 AM
A man who is on trial for murder in connection with a deadly fire told police repeatedly that he was not cooking methamphetamine that morning.
"It's not me. It's not me," Jeffery Wayne McBride said when questioned by Tulsa police detectives after the fire, which claimed a baby's life.
In the video-recorded statement, played for a Tulsa County jury in court Thursday, McBride said that if "I'm guilty of anything, it would be by association."
McBride indicated that he cooked meth on a regular basis but not on the morning of Nov. 10, 2011, at Jacob Bell's duplex in the 1400 block of West Admiral Boulevard.
McBride said there was no need to cook meth that morning because he had more than 2 grams "in my pocket. I was good."
The jury hearing the case in District Judge Kurt Glassco's court is likely to deliberate McBride's fate on Friday.
McBride is on trial on counts of felony murder, first-degree arson and manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance.
In the murder count, prosecutors allege that McBride, while acting in concert with two co-defendants, caused the death of Ayden Jennings - who was not quite 15 months old - by committing arson and causing the fire by cooking methamphetamine.
The two co-defendants, Jacob A. Bell and Jennifer Michelle Jennings, also are charged with the murder, arson and manufacturing counts, plus one count each of child neglect involving Bell's 5-year-old son, who was also in the duplex at the time, according to testimony.
Ayden was Jennings' son, and Bell and Jennings are boyfriend and girlfriend, according to testimony. Bell and Jennings testified as prosecution witnesses against McBride this week.
Investigators said they found meth-lab components in the burned duplex.
Tulsa Police Officer Michael Griffin testified Thursday that there is no doubt that meth had been manufactured in the burned residence. The evidence was "overwhelming," he said.
Ayden was found dead in a bedroom. A medical examiner determined that his death was caused by complications of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.
Testimony has established that all three defendants used meth before the fire.
During his November 2011 interview with police, McBride indicated that he was unaware of any meth cooking in the duplex that morning.
All three defendants are in the Tulsa Jail.
Original Print Headline: Defendant denies fatal fire role
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Jeffery Wayne McBride: After a November 2011 fire, he told detectives that he had not been manufacturing methamphetamine; he said he didn't need to because he had more than 2 grams "in my pocket. I was good." McBride is charged with murder in the death of 15-month-old Ayden Jennings, who was trapped in the duplex after the fire started