Checking up on Tulsa's suspected BB gun vandal

Wednesday, March 9th 2005, 2:54 pm
By: News On 6

With Broken Arrow being hammered by BB gun vandals in recent weeks, the News on 6 wondered what became of the man accused of shooting out windows in Tulsa.

Tulsa Police arrested Larry Watts in January of 2003. Since then, he's given the Tulsa courts, fits. He's never been to jail and hasn't even had a trial. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright looks at this unusual case and the man at the center of it all.

Tulsa businesses and churches spent thousands of dollars replacing windows in 2002 because someone kept shooting them out with a BB or pellet gun. Tulsa Police assumed juveniles were to blame until the folks at Snow's Furniture got fed up and staked-out their own business, until the night they say they saw a man drive by and shoot at their window.

They gave chase and called police and to everyone's surprise, the suspect was not a teen, but a 55 year old man. Larry Watts, who has a history of mental problems, was found with two BB guns and ammo.

Since then, Watts' case has been delayed dozens of times. First, his competency was in question and he was sent to Eastern State hospital then later declared okay. Then, delays occurred when he fired his first, second and third attorney and decided to represent himself. Then, he buried the prosecutors in paperwork, filing dozens of handwritten motions.

Of course each motion filed requires a hearing before a judge. Watts has asked for things like an expert to examine the guns, an expert to examine broken glass, the jury to visit the crime scene, even a new judge and on and on and on. The judge recently ordered him to hire another attorney and one charge was dropped so he now faces one count of drive-by shooting.

Larry has visited the News on 6 on occasion, to talk about the evidence in the case. He won't answer questions about why he had the pellet guns or why he was driving in front of Snows, but did write this statement. “I have roots in this community, I have family in this community, and I care about this community. I have nothing against the righteous pursuit of justice, but, the evidence against me is flawed. The guns are exculpatory; the eye witness testimony is questionable. Do not pre-judge me."

He has another court date March 29th, but who knows when the trial will be. Larry is best described as smart, but once while at the News on 6, he refused to use the phones for fear they were bugged. However, he meets the standards of competency.

Watts' current lawyer told Lori Fullbright he thinks the charge should be misdemeanor vandalism not a felony drive-by shooting. He says Watts has prior shoplifting convictions, so a felony conviction would send him away for six years to life.