Transcript Staff Writer
Aaron Rains Prado, on trial for first-degree murder, took the stand in his own defense Friday, and admitted shooting Andrew "Drew" Supernaw several times with an AK-47 assault rifle.
"I was worried about my brother," Prado said, claiming Supernaw was standing over Ryan Prado with "something in his hand."
"I figured he had a gun," he said. "I don't know what it was, it happened so fast."
Prado, 23, of Shawnee, is charged in the June 4, 2006, shooting death of Supernaw, 27. The trial will resume 9 a.m. Monday in the courtroom of District Judge Bill Hetherington, with instructions, closing arguments and jury deliberations.
Prado testified he, his brother and Brian Ponkilla had driven in Prado's red Honda Accord from Shawnee to Oklahoma City and then to Norman to attend a "49 party" attended by several hundred Native Americans. Arriving around 2:30 a.m., Prado said he parked the car and "went to where the drum was and visited with people around there," walking back and forth to the Honda about four different times. The trunk of the Honda was left open so Prado and friends could access an ice chest containing a couple cases of beer, he said. Prado said he consumed about five beers at the party.
Meanwhile, a group of friends from Anadarko, in a black Ford Expedition, arrived at the party around 3:30 p.m. They saw Supernaw and others in a white Monte Carlo, and parked behind the rental vehicle, according to previous court testimony.
A distance of about 200 feet separated the Honda and the Expedition, prosecutors said. Prado said a couple vehicles were parked between the Honda and the Expedition.
"I walked by (the Expedition) before, but I didn't pay them any attention. I didn't know them," he said.
Prado said he became aware of the Anadarko group around 6 or 7 a.m., after it had become daylight.
"My brother was down that way. I was by my vehicle. I saw a fight break out," he said.
Prado said the fight involved his brother and a friend, Dustin, and two people in the Anadarko group. Prado said he retrieved the AK-47 from the trunk of his Honda, where it had been placed after he'd gone deer hunting earlier in the day. He began running toward the Expedition after he lost sight of his brother around the back of the SUV, he said.
"After I got the rifle, I ran down the ditch. I was looking for my brother," he said.
Running around the passenger side of the Expedition, Prado said he first pointed the AK-47 at Silas Reeder. "I just remember him because he was tall," he said. "I wanted to make sure he didn't have any weapons."
Prado said Reeder showed him his hands and he (Prado) continued running around the back of the SUV.
The next person Prado said he saw was Supernaw, with his back turned toward him. Supernaw was "kind of hunched over" and standing by Prado's brother, who was on the ground with his face down and his feet toward Supernaw.
"I figure he's hurt. I don't see him moving," he said.
Prado said he saw Supernaw's face after he ran past him. "He wasn't paying attention to me. It was directed toward my brother," he said.
Gregg Webb, Prado's attorney, asked Prado what he was thinking when he decided to shoot Supernaw.
"I'm thinking about my brother at the time," Prado said.
"Did you feel like you had a choice?" Webb asked.
"No sir," Prado replied.
Prado's testimony contradicts all that's been recounted so far by witnesses for the state. Several people have testified that Prado and Brian Wilson Ponkilla were involved in a conversation with the Anadarko group that lasted several minutes. Prado and Ponkilla left, retrieved the guns from the Honda's trunk and returned a short time later, Prado carrying the assault rifle and Ponkilla a .40 caliber pistol, according to previous testimony.
Ponkilla pleaded guilty last September to charges related to striking Myron Dale Tartsah, who was sitting in the driver's seat of the SUV, in the side of the head with the pistol after firing the gun in the air several times.
Prado said he didn't know Ponkilla was with him, and said he never saw Ponkilla at the driver's side window, nor did he hear the six or seven firings of the .40 caliber pistol.
Displaying a photo of the crime scene on an overhead projector, Assistant District Attorney Rick Sitzman pointed out three divots in the asphalt that investigators said contained metal traces, and asked Prado if he shot Supernaw once, then three more times as he lay on the ground.
Prado said Supernaw was standing each time he was shot.
Displaying a photo that showed scratches on Supernaw's side, Sitzman also recalled testimony that Prado had poked Supernaw several times with the gun's barrel, taunting him before shooting him.
Prado said he was about 5 feet from Supernaw when he shot him, and said he couldn't explain the scratch marks.
Supernaw was shot at least twice in the body by rounds from the AK-47, the medical examiner testified, and another round may have grazed the small of his back. Supernaw died in the hospital about 13 hours later.
Hetherington told jurors they would hear receive final instructions and hear closing arguments Monday.
Tom Blakey 366-3540 email@example.com
Transcript Staff Writer