Tulsa's 'Good Friday' Murder Suspects Plead Guilty
TULSA, Oklahoma - Two men charged with Tulsa's infamous "Good Friday" murders of 2012 pleaded guilty Friday afternoon.
A judge sentenced Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, to life in prison. If they had gone to trial, they would have faced the death penalty.
England and Watts were accused of gunning down random, black victims in north Tulsa in a case that made national headlines.
They were charged in the deaths of William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields. Two other people were shot but survived. All five victims were black.
"I have never seen such a senseless crime for no reason, never in my career, and I hope I never see this again," said Doug Drummond, Assistant District Attorney.
"I'll tell you this too, I've been a prosecutor for a long time, and I can't believe it happened in my community."
Prosecutors say the two targeted blacks because England's father who was a Cherokee Indian, was killed by a black man in 2010. England later admitted that was true.
England wrote a letter to the victims' families and to the community, apologizing for attacking innocent people. He made eye contact with family members before reading the letter.
He said he is sorry "these innocent people got caught up in his chaotic self-destructive downward spiral."
Watts did not speak during the sentencing.
The men were charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious intimidation or harassment.
Rob Nigh, England's attorney, said his client has tremendous remorse for what happened.
"He offered an apology to the entire community, and he means it," Nigh said. "He was telling the truth when he says he thinks about this every day of his life."
Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said his office worked with the families of the victims.
"In these type of cases we have lots of factors we consider. We talked to these families and they wanted closure," he said.
"We felt like in this case that was a request that we could honor. We felt like it would give them closure and also the community closure and move forward."
England asked to be transferred to prison immediately. Watts will stay at the Tulsa County Jail for 10 days.