Prosecutors: Tulsa Shooting Statements Admissible
DA says a video recording proves one of the alleged shooters was read his Miranda rights
The Associated Press
August 09, 2012TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tulsa prosecutors say one of two men accused of gunning down three black people in April understood his rights after he was arrested and voluntarily gave statements to police.
In a 15-page court filing Monday, First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said accused shooter Jake England's confession should be admitted into evidence because a video recording of the interview proves he was properly read his Miranda rights before any questioning began.
Drummond said those rights included ``an unambiguous statement that anything he said would be used against him in a court of law.''
Attorneys for England have asserted that police took statements from him in violation of his constitutional rights. Attorneys for the other defendant, Alvin Watts, have filed a similar motion, but that hasn't been resolved.
A judge will consider the motions at a hearing next Tuesday.
Messages seeking comment were left for Drummond and England's attorneys.
England, 19, and Watts, 33, face murder and hate crimes charges stemming from the Easter weekend shootings that killed William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields. Two others were wounded.
The shootings happened in a predominantly black section of the city and all of the victims were black. Watts is white and England identifies himself as Cherokee Indian.
Authorities believe England may have targeted black people because he wanted to avenge his father's shooting death by a black man two years ago.
During the first part of the defendants' preliminary hearing last month, England's uncle, Timothy Hoey, testified Watts told him that he and England were trying to see who could shoot the most people the night of April 6, treating it like a contest.
Hoey said Watts told him a day after the killings that Watts and England each shot two people and England shot the fifth victim ``that would break the tie.''
Hoey also testified that the day after the shootings, England used racial slurs to describe whom they shot.