A death penalty trial for Texas resident Joseph Alliniece continued Tuesday with testimony from law enforcement officers, a former cab driver who picked up the defendant and one of Alliniece’s friends who had recent contact with him.
Alliniece, 32, of Missouri City, Texas, is charged with first-degree murder of Norman resident Brittani Young, 27, as well as two counts of kidnapping and one count of robbery by force or fear.
According to a Norman police affidavit, officers found Young on April 24, 2018, dead inside her Emerald Greens Apartments residence. Alliniece fled the scene but was later arrested that night by Oklahoma City Police Department officers. He was then taken to the Norman Investigations Center for questioning, where he said he couldn’t remember anything from that day.
Alliniece is being held on $5 million bond, state records show.
Norman Police Officer Chris Antwine, who worked patrol in 2018, said he was the first officer to report on scene around 2:54 p.m.
He testified in Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley’s courtroom that the call was initially labeled a medical call involving an unconscious woman who was possibly breathing, so he hurried and followed people’s directions pointing him to Young’s patio door.
He looked inside and saw Young’s body, then entered the room and got out his flashlight, since the living room was dark. He also found some burnt papers on a box.
He said he checked Young’s femoral artery in her leg for a pulse but found none, and found no suspects inside the apartment after a search. He also looked for any possible weapons inside the apartment.
Antwine said Young’s head had been smashed, the scene was bloody and one of her ears was lying near her head.
Officer Ashlie Livingston testified that she arrived shortly after Antwine and went inside to check on Young and the apartment unit. When witnesses on scene reported that they saw a man running north from the scene five minutes before officers arrived, she passed on information to other officers on the radio and searched for the suspect and anything he may have dropped. She found nothing, but also requested a search be conducted at the nearby University of Oklahoma golf course.
Livingston said she and Antwine asked for medical support to confirm Young’s death, because her body still felt warm.
Livingston said she spoke to the victim’s friend, who had been pulled inside the apartment with her toddler, and Young’s mother, Stacey Raspberry, who arrived on scene while the friend and her child were being held hostage. Both of them had moved inside their vehicles, and the friend was given another shirt to wear after removing her own bloodied shirt.
Norman Lt. Matt Woodard, who was a shift supervisor, testified that he set up a perimeter search around the area, contacted an off-duty K-9 handler and asked the Oklahoma City Police Department for assistance from their helicopter pilot in the search for Alliniece.
Around 4:45 p.m., Woodard said Young’s phone, which Alliniece had taken from the scene, pinged around the area of Classen Boulevard and State Highway 9. Her phone was found on a grassy hill near the intersection, where technical investigators were called in to take pictures of the phone and admit it into evidence.
Blaine Davison, a former Norman police detective of over 23 years, said he helped gather video evidence to track Alliniece’s movements that night after Young’s death. Footage from several locations — including a Yukon Walmart Supercenter, Mustang Quick Junction in Mustang and a Petro Truck Stop in Oklahoma City — shows full or partial views of Alliniece at each store throughout the day.
The state presented surveillance video footage from the locations into evidence.
Defense attorney Mitchell Solomon pointed out that none of the videos show Alliniece purchasing new clothes to replace the ones he was wearing at the time, which were still blood from the crime scene.
Jumaid Arshad, who was a cab driver with his own taxi business in 2018, said Alliniece contacted him, told him to pick him up at the Petro Truck Stop and asked him about fare. Arshad picked Alliniece up behind the gas station, and Alliniece told him he needed to head to a pharmacy. Arshad suggested the Yukon Walmart, and told Alliniece he would have to tally up the extra cost later.
Arshad said Alliniece was in the Walmart for a short period of time, and he next took the suspect to the Mustang Quick Junction. Alliniece kept waiting inside the vehicle; Arshad testified that he heard Alliniece texting on his phone and assumed he was waiting for somebody.
When nobody showed, Alliniece gave Arshad an address in Oklahoma City. Arshad said when they saw an inmate bus on the way, Alliniece became nervous and asked him to drive faster past it.
Once they arrived, Arshad said Alliniece paid him after negotiating over the new price, and he drove away. Alliniece was found later behind a dumpster near that address.
One of Alliniece’s friends from Houston, Natasha Jeppers, said Alliniece and Young blew up her phone April 24, 2018, asking her to take Alliniece from Young’s apartment. Jeppers said she first met Alliniece around 2016, and met Young on one of Alliniece’s later visits to Oklahoma.
Jeppers testified that she said told them she would be able to later. She offered to call some friends who were closer, as she was heading to Tulsa soon to visit another friend.
Jeppers said she was at Riverwind Casino when she noticed all of her Messenger calls and texts from Young and Alliniece.
The last message she received from Young was sent at 2:22 p.m. April 24, saying, “Can you get this dude for real? He can’t stay here,” adding that Alliniece kept calling her names. Jeppers said she didn’t hear from Young after that, but tried to call her the next morning after seeing a concerning Facebook post about Young.
She testified that she heard a lot from Alliniece after Young’s last message, with texts saying, “Call me now,” lots of missed calls and some returned calls where he begged her to come get him.
During one call, she said Alliniece said he wasn’t sure that Young was still breathing, but the message went over her head because she was traveling at the time, and she started ignoring him. After 7:27 p.m., she didn’t hear from him any more.