A judge entered not guilty pleas Monday for two Oklahoma men accused of going on a racially-motivated shooting spree in a predominantly black section of Tulsa this month, killing three people and wounding two others.
Jake England and Alvin Watts appeared in Tulsa County District Court via closed-circuit television from jail, where they have been held since their arrests Easter Sunday.
Special Judge William Hiddle assigned a lawyer to Watts — England already had a lawyer — and entered not guilty pleas for both to charges of first-degree murder, shooting with the intent to kill and malicious harassment in the April 6 attacks in Tulsa. The harassment counts imply the victims were targeted because they are black.
The first-degree murder counts are punishable by execution or life in prison, but prosecutors say they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
The early-morning shootings terrorized Tulsa’s black community over Easter weekend. William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields were killed, and David Hall and Deon Tucker were wounded.
Police said England and Watts confessed after their arrests and said they chose the victims at random.
Authorities, who have described the pair as white, contend the two housemates targeted their victims because they believe England wanted to avenge his father’s shooting death by a black man two years ago.
A day before the shootings, England apparently wrote a Facebook post saying that it was the second anniversary of his father’s death, using a racial slur and lamenting that “it’s hard not to go off.”
A friend of England’s said England is Cherokee Indian and is not a racist.
Documents filed with the charges said anonymous callers to a police department hotline before the men were arrested claimed England was a racist who hated black men and that he “has mentioned he will die in a shootout with the police if he has to.” England’s family and friends have said the death of his father and his girlfriend’s January suicide sent him into a downward spiral.
Local and national black leaders have called on prosecutors to bring hate crimes charges against the two. Jesse Jackson spoke with black leaders last week, while NAACP President Benjamin Jealous visited Tulsa on Sunday and spoke at an event to raise money for the victims’ families.
Oklahoma’s malicious harassment law is a misdemeanor on the first offense and carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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