Tulsa DA Files Murder, Hate-Crime Charges In Good Friday Shootings
TULSA, Oklahoma - Charges on Friday were filed against two men who are accused in the "unprecedented" random shooting rampage that took place in north Tulsa a week ago.
Jacob Carl England, 19, and Alvin Lee Watts, 33, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious intimidation or harassment.
Both men are currently being held at the Tulsa County Jail on more than $9 million each, but Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris filed a motion Friday to have the bond revoked, which was approved by a judge.
The charges of malicious intimidation or harassment cover hate crimes. All five victims, three of whom died, were black.
A Facebook page attributed to England contained racial slurs and hinted that the victims were targeted because of their race. Crime Stoppers tipsters told police England may have killed to avenge his own father's murder by a black man, an affidavit says.
Under Oklahoma law, OS 21 Sec 850, malicious harassment occurs when a person acts "maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability."
The statute provides a maximum sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine.
"Filing charges is the first step to obtain justice for the victims and their families," Doug Drummond, Tulsa County First Assistant District Attorney said in a statement. "This is a tragic and senseless crime. Our office is committed to holding those responsible accountable for their actions."
Under Oklahoma law, the potential punishment on each of the first-degree murder charges is life with parole, life without parole or potentially the death penalty. The shooting with intent to kill charges carry up to life in prison.
The decision whether to seek the death penalty against England and Watts will be determined at a later date, Drummond said.
"Typically, we make that decision once the preliminary hearing is completed and I anticipate we will follow that process in this case."
Dead in the shootings are Bobby Clark, 54; William Allen, 31; and Donna Fields, 49. Deon Tucker, 44, and David Hall, 46, both survived gunshot wounds.
Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is in Tulsa this weekend and attended Clark's funeral Friday morning, said he is glad to hear charges were filed by the DA.
"They should have been filed," Jackson said. "An act of revenge is an act of hate regarding innocent people. This is a big step in the right direction."
England and Watts were arrested about 24 hours after the shootings occurred. Police had limited information from one survivor -- a white male in a white truck -- but calls to the Crime Stoppers tip line provided leads in the case.
An affidavit obtained by News On 6 on Friday reveals more about the hunt for the alleged killers.
The affidavit says tipsters reported the following, among other things:
- Caller believes Jake England should be a person of interest for shootings that took place on April 6, 2012.
- Caller states Jake England is a racist and hates black males.
- Caller stated Jake England has bragged about other shootings.
- Jake England has mentioned he will die in a shootout with the police if he has to.