ADA — A college student who got into a fight in October with accused killer Jerrod Murray told East Central University police he was afraid of him and feared the young man “may try to blow him up,” court records show.
Murray, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of fellow student Generro Sanchez, who was also a freshman. Murray is being held at the Pottawatomie County jail.
Sanchez's body was found in a ditch near Asher, Murray's hometown. The young man had been shot twice in the head, Pottawatomie County Undersheriff J.T. Palmer wrote in an affidavit.
Murray, who was arrested near the homicide scene Dec. 6, confessed to killing Sanchez simply to see how it would feel, Palmer wrote.
Murray also claims to have no remorse about shooting Sanchez, who was lured to death after he agreed to give the Murray a ride to a Walmart in exchange for $20.
Documents released by East Central University show those closest to Murray at the time of the homicide feared the young man — known around campus for wearing a black suit at all times.
An Oct. 3 report made by university police details an altercation between Murray and Wyatt Freeman, 18, inside a dorm room at Pesagi Hall, where both of the men lived.
According to police records, Freeman put Murray in a chokehold and caused him to briefly lose consciousness.
Murray, Freeman and two other men, including Sanchez, had been playing the popular video game Mario Kart — a racing game — just moments before the incident.
“Freeman advised that he and Murray were having a discussion about ‘tapping out,'” the report states. “He stated that Murray didn't think he could make him ‘tap out' with a chokehold.
“Freeman stated that he put Murray in a chokehold and that Murray immediately passed out and ‘hit the floor.'”
After Murray regained consciousness, the two young men continued to bicker. At one point, Murray punched Freeman and spit on him, the report shows.
Eventually, campus police responded and took statements from Murray, Freeman and three other young men, including Sanchez.
Sanchez, who lived in Pesagi Hall near Murray, signed a statement confirming Freeman's version of events.
The 18-year-old homicide victim described how Murray began “convulsing” on the floor after the chokehold and how Murray claimed to have “memory loss due to lack of oxygen.”
“Wyatt then insists that Jerrod was full of it,” Sanchez wrote in his statement. “Jerrod then yells and lunges at Wyatt, punching him in the temple and spitting (on) Wyatt.”
Police reports provided by East Central University reveal that Freeman was afraid Murray would “harm him” after the chokehold incident.
“He wants Murray moved out of the dorm or at least away from his room,” the report states. “He stated that he is concerned that Murray may try to blow him up and made reference to Murray having the ‘anarchist' manual in his room.”
University spokeswoman Amy Ford said the incident didn't stick out to administrators at the time.
“It was nothing unusual, you know, for young guys in a college dorm,” Ford said.
Never in trouble
In Murray's hometown, Asher Police Chief Tommy Greggs said Murray had never been in trouble with the law while he lived in the small town in south Pottawatomie County.
“This being a small town, I had seen him around a lot … coming and going to school and stuff like that … and he seemed fine to me,” Greggs said. “It was a total shocker around here.”
The gun Murray told investigators he used to kill Sanchez was stolen from Daniel Davis, a man who lives in Asher, court records show.
Attempts to reach Davis were unsuccessful, but his mother, Linda, confirmed the .40-caliber Springfield handgun was stolen from her home and that it belonged to her son.
Linda Davis, who said she knows Murray and his family, reported that her son is in the military, although she declined to say which branch.
At Asher Public Schools, where Murray went to school until last year, Superintendent Terry Grissom said the student body is handling the news well.
“I think there was some talking about it and addressing it in the classroom … and we encouraged the teachers to allow that,” Grissom said. “But otherwise, there hasn't been a whole lot of talk about it, so it's kind of been business as usual for the students.”
Grissom said students, teachers and administrators all know each other in small towns like Asher, so “I knew Jerrod well.”
“Jerrod was extremely intelligent,” he said. “And as far as discipline issues or violence issues or anything like that, we never had any problems with Jerrod.”
Grissom said Murray was “always quirky … a little different,” but that he was never picked on by other students at Asher schools. He noted that Murray, even in his younger days, was known for wearing a black suit all the time.
“That was never an issue or problem,” the administrator said. “We just thought he was eccentric, you know. Basically, that's just Jerrod.
“It was unusual … not very many kids come to school in a suit every day here in Asher.”
Attempts by The Oklahoman to reach Murray's family have not been successful, but his sister, Kristan Murray, posted some comments about her brother's arrest on Facebook.
Kristan Murray wrote Dec. 7 that her comments would be “the only thing I say about my brother.”
“I'm really at a loss for words about the entire situation,” she wrote. “I don't even know what to think right now, let alone what to say. I will say this though ... I never, EVER thought, in a million years, that one of my brothers could/would EVER do anything even remotely close to this.”
Mother wants death penalty
For Generro Sanchez's mother, Jeana West, dealing with her son's death is still a work in progress.
In fact, West said she has yet to watch a TV report or read a news story about Sanchez's killing.
“That's the best way I know how to deal with it,” she said. “It's just extremely hard. At this moment, it's the only thing I can do to get through it.”
West said her son, who grew up in McAlester before moving to Stuart in 2005, was studying to be an engineer at East Central University.
She said her son never complained about problems at school — or about anything — and that he “loved college.”
“The other day, he was telling me, he was walking down the hill at school, back to his dorm from the classroom buildings, when he just stopped and looked around,” West said. “And he was like, ‘Wow, this is beautiful … and I've got my whole life in front of me.'”
West said hundreds of people showed up to Sanchez's funeral in Stuart. She said the community helped her family make the arrangements.
“They have been a godsend,” West said. “It would have been a lot harder getting things done, for Generro's service, if not for the community and teachers here in Stuart.”
West said she will miss the simple, everyday moments she shared with her son. Even if they weren't in the same county.
“Our text messages back and forth, with him telling me that he loves me and me telling him I love him … I will miss that,” she said. “I used to text him a lot when he was in school because I never knew he was in class.”
When asked about the young man being held in the death of her son, West had little to say.
“I really can't put into words what I feel about Jerrod Murray right now,” she said. “I do believe in the death penalty and I do believe that he deserves it. I will say that.”
Pottawatomie County District Attorney Richard Smothermon said he hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
“That will come later,” he said.