Police suspect two victims in Fairmont apartment killings of dealing drugs
BY AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 09, 2013
2/09/13 at 7:04 AM
Get complete coverage: Read about the Fairmont Terrace quadruple homicide and the Tulsa World’s investigation of the area.
Editorial: Is it time to update the warrant system?
Police suspect that the twin sisters who were slain in a quadruple homicide at the Fairmont Terrace apartments last month were dealing marijuana and methamphetamine out of the complex, court documents show.
The women's mother told the Tulsa World that one of the twins began selling marijuana to finance a move away from the complex.
Sisters Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Powell Melchor, both 23, along with Misty Nunley, 33, and Julie Jackson, 55, were bound and fatally shot inside Powell's apartment during an apparent robbery in January.
Witnesses told police that two men who have been arrested in the murders - brothers James and Cedric Poore, who had been staying in an apartment upstairs from Powell's - spoke of their plans to rob the victims before the slayings and returned with drugs wrapped in plastic, as well as money and jewelry, 20 minutes later.
Interviews conducted by investigators revealed "a common theme" that Powell and Melchor "were involved in the use and distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana," a detective wrote in a search warrant affidavit that was filed in connection with the case. An apartment at Fairmont Terrace is identified in the affidavit as a place where the sisters conducted their drug business.
"When Rebeika moved there, she was drug-free," her mother, Charon Powell, told the World. "She was drug-free up until about four months, five months before this happened."
She said she knew that Rebeika Powell had begun selling marijuana but wasn't aware that she was dealing meth until Melchor asked for help in getting her sister out of the complex.
"I know that sounds crazy, but she was 23 years old. At 23 years old, a lot of us make a lot of wrong choices. ... It was like, 'How am I ever going to get out of here unless I do something illegal?' " Charon Powell said.
Rebeika Powell, the single mother of a 3-year-old boy, had previously spoken with her mother about her desperate desire to move, but her efforts hit a snag when she took a minimum-wage job to try to make ends meet and her government assistance was reduced.
"She called me, and she was just crying, 'I'm never going to get out of here, Mom. I'm never going to get out of here. Now they've raised my rent; they lowered my food stamps. For some reason, my child support's been taken away,' " Charon Powell said.
She said she offered to pay for her daughter to move if she stopped dealing drugs. "All she had to do was quit selling the drugs and go back to finding a job," Charon Powell said.
The family had received a call that an apartment they had applied for was almost ready to be rented days before the shootings occurred on Jan. 7.
Others investigated: Two days later, a Crime Stoppers tip led police to Vicente Piedra Salazar, a resident of the nearby South Glen Apartments, 5645 S. Peoria Ave., and a search warrant was issued, court documents filed Thursday show.
The tipster said Powell and Melchor owed Salazar, who went by the nickname "Suave," and another man $1,400, according to the documents. Salazar reportedly was the sisters' drug supplier, witnesses told police.
Salazar was jailed on an arrest warrant in connection with a 2009 domestic assault case. Homicide detectives said he is not suspected of involvement in the Fairmont Terrace shootings.
"This investigation took a lot of different twists and turns, and we got into a lot of people's business that mostly was illegal," Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker said. "So he got wrapped up in that."
Salazar, Powell and Melchor are alleged to have "conduct(ed) drug transactions together" in a separate apartment at Fairmont Terrace, records show.
Rumors of a hit, possibly connected to Salazar, were investigated and have not been substantiated, Walker said.
"It appears to be a simple act of robbery (and) meanness" on the part of the Poore brothers, he said.
Salazar is being held without bond for immigration officials at the Tulsa Jail.
Court records also indicate that police have cleared, at least for the time being, a man who previously was named as a person of interest or suspect.
Freddie Allen Hayes, whose last name is spelled Hays in some records, was jailed on drug and weapons complaints after police were called about an intoxicated person near 800 N. Columbia Ave. on Jan. 11.
On Jan. 15, police said Hayes, 32, had been "identified as, at a minimum, a witness" in the killings, and the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office filed a motion for a bond increase from $11,000 to $250,000.
Prosecutors filed a document Thursday indicating that they did not object to a bond decrease.
Hayes "is no longer considered a suspect and/or a person of interest in the quadruple murders," the document states.
A footnote clarifies that "it is still unclear as to what knowledge, if any Hayes may have regarding the case."
Brothers arrested: Police Chief Chuck Jordan announced James and Cedric Poore's arrests during a press conference Wednesday.
Jordan told reporters he did not want to discuss a possible motive, but arrest reports indicate that witnesses told police that James and Cedric Poore planned to "pull a 'lick,'" or robbery, at Powell's apartment.
The witnesses said James Poore said he'd shot one of the victims because "she could identify him." He also said his brother had killed the other three women, according to the witnesses' statements.
James Stanford Poore, 32, was arrested Wednesday morning and was booked into the Tulsa Jail on four first-degree murder complaints.
Cedric Dwayne Poore, 39, had been booked into jail on Jan. 14 on arrest warrants for traffic violations and court costs. Four first-degree murder complaints were added against him on Wednesday.
They are being held without bond.
"I think we're all relieved (about the arrests), because it was really draining," Walker told the Tulsa World on Friday. "It's just one of those cases where it took everybody in the unit to finally wade through all of the stuff. ... These people (the victims) were involved in so many different things that led us in so many different directions."
He said the investigation is ongoing.
Original Print Headline: Drug dealing is suspected
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Rebeika Powell (left) and Kayetie Powell Melchor: Police believe the twin sisters were selling marijuana and methamphetamine out of an apartment where they were slain on Jan. 7 along with two other women during an apparent robbery.