Five charged with conspiracy to kill shooting witness
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Five people have been indicted on a federal charge of conspiring to kill a person who was expected to testify against one of the defendants in a state court hearing.
Christopher Aaron Charlton, 30; Erin Elizabeth MacKool, 26; William Lucas Mayberry, 26; Charles August Hoffman, 30; and David Bryce Brooner, 37, were charged under seal by a Tulsa federal grand jury on Jan. 11. The charges became public when Mayberry and Brooner were arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
Charlton was charged July 12 in Tulsa County District Court with assault and battery with a deadly weapon on an allegation that he shot a man in the leg on June 5 in Tulsa.
The victim of the shooting was expected to be a witness at a preliminary hearing, according to the indictment.
The grand jury alleges that Charlton wanted to prevent the man from testifying and at some point in August solicited Brooner to “take out” the potential witness.
The indictment says that on Aug. 30, Charlton, Brooner, MacKool and Mayberry met to discuss the situation and that MacKool and Mayberry made statements reflecting their willingness to participate in the plot.
According to the grand jury, the four then left together in Charlton’s vehicle and met with Hoffman, who was driving a stolen truck.
A sawed-off shotgun was then transferred from Charlton’s vehicle and placed in the stolen truck, and everybody except Charlton then left in the stolen truck, the indictment says. Mayberry purchased duct tape and zip-ties that were to be used to secure the witness and prevent him from fleeing, the grand jury alleges.
MacKool, Mayberry and Hoffman then obtained a semiautomatic handgun, the indictment alleges. The stolen truck contained a document that featured the intended victim’s photograph as well various items to be used in the kidnapping of the potential witness, the grand jury alleges.
The alleged plot was thwarted before the man could be harmed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Litchfield said. The Department of Homeland Security, the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office worked on the investigation, he said.
Besides the conspiracy count, Charlton faces other federal charges, including solicitation of murder. All the defendants except Brooner are also accused of federal gun crimes.
State court records show that a Tulsa County conspiracy case against Charlton, MacKool, Mayberry and Brooner related to the same alleged plot was dismissed Monday at the request of the state. That took place because of the federal prosecution, Litchfield indicated.
Charlton ultimately waived his preliminary hearing in the assault and battery with a deadly weapon case and has an April 15 trial date, records show.