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Attorney General to ask for rehearing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office will ask the state Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its reversal of the first-degree murder conviction of James Charles Childress.

Childress was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death in the slaying of Muldrow rancher Jason Wilson. Wilson was killed when he confronted Childress and two others, who had gone on to his land and killed a calf.

In a tape-recorded confession played at his trial, Childress said he became frightened when Wilson confronted him and shot Wilson in the eye. Wilson was then shot several more times in the head while on the ground.

The appeals court reversed the conviction Tuesday and ordered a new trial because it said the judge erred by not telling the jury to consider second-degree murder as an option.

"We believe the conviction was good and should have been upheld," said Gerald Adams, spokesman for the attorney general. "We intend to do everything we can to pursue the case."

The state has 20 days to appeal.

"It seems pretty obvious first-degree murder is in order when the defendant shoots the victim six times," he said.

The state could allow local prosecutors to retry the case, get are hearing in appeals court or try to argue the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Assistant District Attorney Darrell Dowty, who tried the case originally, said any new trial would still be on a first-degree murder charge and he would again seek the death penalty.

Wilson's father, Joe, will visit the attorney general's office on Monday to find out what the office plans to do.

Wilson said he couldn't comprehend the reversal by the court. He attended hearings last year on the case.

"Several judges wouldn't let the prosecutors talk," he said. "A couple of those people, in my humble opinion, weren't interested in justice."

A second defendant in the case has seen two juries deadlock on a second-degree murder count and the third defendant had his charges dismissed because of inaccuracies related to an arrest warrant.

"It's all being shot down on technicalities, technicalities," Wilson said.
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