NORMAN — The jury selection process for a first-degree murder trial began Monday in Cleveland County District Court.
Richard Dean Lansdale, 38, of Purcell, was charged conjointly with Russell Lee Blackwood for the murder of Gary Norton Sr., 55, of Lexington, on Easter Sunday last year.
Blackwood, 41, was found guilty by a Cleveland County jury in September. The jury suggested a sentence of life in prison without parole. A formal sentencing for Blackwood is scheduled for Nov. 20 by District Judge Tracy Schumacher.
During the course of Blackwood’s trial, one witness who testified was in the car with Lansdale and Blackwood during the drive-by shooting. The woman said Lansdale was the one who fired shots at Norton’s home.
Norton died from a gunshot wound to the head. He was in bed at home when the shooting occurred around 12:30 a.m. Easter Sunday.
According to an affidavit filed with Blackwood’s charges, OSBI Special Agent Marvin Akers interviewed Lansdale on April 16, 2012, when Lansdale admitted to being at the Norton residence the night of the shooting.
Lansdale further stated in the interview that Blackwood provided the gun, a Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol. Lansdale was handed the gun with a full magazine of ammunition and one round in the chamber of the gun, the affidavit said.
Lansdale told the investigator that Blackwood wanted him to help with the drive-by shooting because of Joshua Norton, Gary Norton Sr.’s son, forcing himself on Blackwood’s girlfriend.
According to Lansdale, there was a time when they were driving around Lexington, and Blackwood said, “If you are not man enough, then give me the gun and I will do it,” the affidavit said.
Lansdale then agreed to do the shooting. He said it was Blackwood’s idea to get payback on Joshua Norton, the affidavit said.
Lansdale also corroborated information with a witness account about the entire incident, including throwing the shirt, gloves and spent shell casings into Purcell Lake. OSBI agents later found the evidence after searching the lake.
The jury selection process will continue at 9:30 a.m. in Schumacher’s courtroom.