Trial ordered in women's slayings

Friday, November 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A 21-year-old Bixby man will stand trial in the slayings of two young women, but a judge says police testimony of a confession is inadmissible.

Tulsa County Special Judge Kyle Haskins ordered Tracy JoeVaun McGill to trial on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Jessica Smith, 20, and Jessica Ridenour, 18. The two were shot to death July 26 at a Tulsa apartment.

But Haskins ruled Thursday that a statement McGill made to Tulsa Police Detective Mike Nance was inadmissible. McGill's lawyer had contended the statement was the product of an illegal arrest.

McGill was arrested in Bixby by Tulsa police on what his attorney said were minor traffic warrants. Tulsa police questioned McGill about the homicides rather than booking him into jail on the traffic warrants and giving him the opportunity to be released on bond, attorney Allen Smallwood said.

Prosecutor Paul Wilkening said McGill was questioned as a potential witness, not as a suspect, and that it was a "matter of procedure" that officers took him to the Detective Division before taking him to jail. There was nothing involuntary about McGill's statements, he said.

Prosecutors said despite Haskins' ruling, they can ask the trial judge to allow Nance's testimony.

Nance testified Oct. 12 that McGill told him he had shot the two young women and that Smith did not die immediately. He said McGill told him the wounded woman eventually started to plead with him "to end it" and "not to shoot her in the face." The detective said McGill shot her again.

Nance said McGill told him he went to Smith's apartment to collect money she owed him.

The judge's ruling did not throw out the testimony of McGill's friend, John Wayne Garrison. Garrison said McGill told him on July 26 that he "messed up" and shot two women.