TULSA, Okla. — Authorities never had probable cause to arrest one of the two men charged in April’s shooting rampage in Tulsa that left three people dead and two wounded, the suspect’s attorneys claimed Friday.
The 14-page motion filed in Tulsa district court by 33-year-old Alvin Watts’ public defenders argues that testimony given at a preliminary hearing last summer proved that police lacked enough specific evidence to arrest him.
But prosecutors said Friday they had enough evidence at the hearing to convince a Tulsa County special judge to order that Watts stand trial, and added that they would offer the same evidence before the trial judge.
Watts and 20-year-old Jake England are charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Easter weekend shootings of William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields, who were killed as they walked near their homes in a predominantly black section of Tulsa. All five victims were black. Watts and England also face hate crime charges.
Both men pleaded not guilty at an arraignment this week. Prosecutors have announced they will seek the death penalty.
Watts’ motion argues that a Tulsa police detective who testified at the hearing last year admitted that the phone number that came into the department’s Crime Stoppers hotline after the shootings was assigned to England.
The detective also testified that the search warrant of England’s house did not mention Watts, and admitted that “he knew that Alvin Watts and Jacob England lived together, but could not tell the court when he learned that nor could he showed where he had ever documented this information,” the motion states.
Shena Burgess, the deputy chief public defender, declined to comment on the motion, saying it spoke for itself.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond called the defense motion typical, especially in a death penalty case.