Murder Suspect Apprehended in Green Country

Saturday, January 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Officers captured murder suspect JB Cole Saturday afternoon. Tulsa Police say he was a man on a mission who was heavily armed.

Captain Karen Rovan, Tulsa Police: "We're very happy. No one else will be harmed and he's behind bars where he needs to be. We're very happy."

Prosecutors charged JB Cole with the first degree murder of 71-year-old Donald Green, the Tulsa man disappeared from his Tulsa home on Christmas Day and was found dead in Kentucky last week.

After chasing Cole through Oklahoma, Kentucky and Ohio, police caught their suspect just miles from the original crime scene.

Police say Cole went to a relative's house at four o'clock Saturday afternoon in the 5900 block of West 10th Street - that relative called Tulsa Police.

Officers got there just a couple of minutes after Cole left at 4:46pm.

They learned he had an ex-wife in Terlton, so they alerted police there as well as at the Pawnee County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The Tulsa Police helicopter spotted the car Cole was driving and tracked it to Terlton, where officers arrested him.

Detectives say Cole had several guns with him, including a 9-millimeter handgun.

When Josh Coffey saw all this in downtown Terlton, he knew it was something big, so he pulled out his video camera.

Josh Coffey, Witness: "The helicopter got our attention and the cops were pointing guns and telling people to get in their houses cause a killer was on the loose and to find out it was the guy in the red Mustang."

That red Mustang was stolen from Kentucky and police say JB Cole was behind the wheel.

A short time before the arrest, Cole had asked Coffey and a buddy for directions.

John Coffey, Witness: "He asked, us, hey homies, what's up? And he asked us for Little John, we said no. Then, he said John Junior and we said no, we're not from around here and he said, what's up, we're just partying and we said no, that's about it."

The arrest took place in downtown Terlton in front of a country store. Police say Cole changed his appearance by dying his hair red and growing a beard.

Officers knew Cole was armed, so feared the arrest would be violent, but, it wasn't.

Captain Karen Rovan, Tulsa Police: "At one of the houses he went to in Tulsa, he held up a gun and said he'd be back because he had business to take care of. But, he left the gun in the car so did not have the gun when he was taken into custody."

Cole was an escapee out of Tennessee and homicide detectives had tracked him to Kentucky and Ohio then back to Oklahoma, they believe he was headed to his ex-wife's house before the arrest, and that he wanted revenge against some of his relatives who had helped police.

Captain Karen Rovan: "Everything we've heard, he's worn out his welcome everywhere he's gone. People tend to go where they have support, so we're not surprised he came back here. Whether he came for support or do hurt someone, which is very possible."

Several members of victim's family went to the police station Saturday evening upon hearing of Cole's arrest.

They've had an agonizing 10 days - first, waiting to find out what happened to their father. Then, after the news of his murder - waiting to see if police would catch up to the suspect.

They're relieved that part of the wait is over.

Donald Green, Junior - Victim's Son: "He's a very dangerous man. I seen my dad and I've never seen nobody beat up so bad in my life."

Jerry Green, Victim's Daughter: "I just want to thank everybody who helped and the media for getting the word out. Thank you from my father and from me."

The family has opened a trust fund at Bank of Oklahoma to help pay for their father's funeral expenses.

Donald Green had worked at the city of Tulsa for 40 years.