EL RENO — A judge Monday ruled prosecutors can put on evidence at murder defendant Joshua Steven Durcho's upcoming trial that he tried to escape from jail after his arrest.
Durcho, 29, is accused of killing his girlfriend and her four young children inside her El Reno apartment in January 2009.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty at his jury trial in September. Prosecutors contend the June 2010 escape attempt is proof Durcho is a continuing threat to society.
Prosecutors allege Durcho and another murder defendant used sharpened steel rods to chisel away mortar from cell walls at the Canadian County jail. Durcho denies he was involved in any escape plan.
Canadian County District Judge Gary E. Miller ruled against defense attorneys, who wanted the evidence excluded.
The judge also ruled prosecutors can put on evidence at trial that Durcho has shown no remorse. Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse revealed Monday there is evidence Durcho smoked marijuana shortly after the killings.
Also, Miller is expected to rule later this week whether Durcho has a mental disability that makes Durcho ineligible for the death penalty.
At issue is whether Durcho is mentally retarded, a term still used in Oklahoma law but more commonly known now in society as developmentally or intellectually disabled.
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