ADA — An 18-year-old man known at East Central University for walking around in a black suit and using a cane may have targeted other students living in the freshman dorms, a suite mate says.
Jerrod Murray, of Asher, was charged Friday in Pottawatomie County with first-degree murder.
He is accused of killing fellow ECU student Generro Sanchez, who apparently was lured to his death after agreeing to give Murray a ride to a Walmart in exchange for $20.
Murray and Sanchez lived in the same dormitory on campus and knew each other, friends of the victim said Monday.
Pottawatomie County Undersheriff J.T. Palmer, who filed a probable cause affidavit for Murray's arrest Thursday, described the defendant's demeanor following his arrest.
“I asked the suspect how it made him feel,” Palmer wrote. “He said it was OK.”
When asked if he felt any remorse for killing Sanchez, the defendant gave another chilling answer, Palmer wrote.
“He said, ‘Well, I am glad I got caught by someone with your high rank, but no, I don't feel any remorse for what I did,” the undersheriff wrote.
The suite mate, Evan Jolliff, who knew both of the young men, said Murray had asked other students to take him to the Walmart over the past month.
Jolliff said his friend, who also lives in the Pesagi Hall on campus, had an altercation with Murray earlier in the semester and that some hard feelings lingered between the young men.
“He asked me, my roommate and my friend to take him to Walmart but we didn't,” he said. “It's kinda scary.”
Jolliff, who is from Lone Grove, said Murray also told people at the Ada campus that the U.S. Department of Defense was funding his education — a claim many classmates didn't believe.
“He just didn't seem right,” Jolliff said. “But I didn't ever really want to say that … didn't really want to judge him … just because he wore a suit.”
As the suspect was led away from court Friday in Shawnee, Murray told a television reporter that he wasn't proud of what he has confessed to doing to Sanchez. He also said he wasn't sorry about shooting the victim, even as the young man begged for his life.
“No, ma'am,” Murray said when asked if he had any remorse for killing Sanchez.
Pottawatomie County District Attorney Richard Smothermon said investigators searched Murray's dorm room at ECU, removing the suspect's computer and other items.
Smothermon said it's too early to say whether he will seek the death penalty in the case.
“That will come later,” he said.
Police in Asher said Murray had never been in trouble with the law. At ECU, spokeswoman Amy Ford said the suspect had the university police come to his dorm room in October on a disturbance call.
“It was nothing unusual, you know, for young guys in a college dorm,” Ford said.
Court records show that Murray offered the victim $20 for a ride to Walmart last week. But instead of simply accepting the ride, the defendant pulled a gun on Sanchez and ordered him to drive north of Ada.
Several miles away, Murray shot the 18-year-old victim in the head — after missing with the first shot — and pushed him out of the truck.
Sanchez, who apparently begged for his life, was shot a second time as he lay in a ditch in south Pottawatomie County.
Murray was arrested about 3 a.m. Wednesday as he walked near the crime scene.
Undersheriff Palmer, who first made contact with the defendant, said Murray was wearing a black suit and readily confessed to the slaying, court records show.
“He picked the victim from East Central because he didn't have many friends and wouldn't be missed so quick,” he wrote in the affidavit. “He said, ‘I wanted to do this Tuesday night but (Sanchez) wasn't in his dorm room.'”
Palmer wrote that Murray had been planning to kill somebody for weeks and that the defendant had stolen a gun from a man living in Asher before the slaying.
Those who knew Murray at East Central University say he was quiet and was often seen around campus wearing a black suit. Sometimes he used a cane, even though he didn't need one.
Murray was a freshman, yet students at East Central University seemed to know who he was by sight.
Justin Erwin, a senior who didn't know Murray personally, said the murder defendant was easy to pick out of crowd on campus.
“Kind of hard to miss him,” Erwin said. “He wore a black suit pretty much all the time.
Jolliff, perhaps unintentionally, repeatedly referred to Murray as “suit guy.”
Timothy Eads, a residential assistant at the Pesagi Hall, said he knew both Murray and Sanchez.
Eads said Murray's appearance — “always in a suit and a tie” — made him stick out, and he recalled checking the freshman into his dorm room. He said the Murray was quiet but that he wasn't really a problem.
“He would eat alone most of the time, some times with other people,” Eads said. “Sometimes he would use a cane.
“Some people thought that was kind of strange because we just don't see that.”
‘A nice guy'
Sanchez, who is from Stuart, was remembered by classmates and others as pleasant young man who would go out of his way to help others.
“He was a nice guy, always looking for us to smile and stuff … he never wanted us to be unhappy,” Jolliff said. “He was a good guy … a good friend.”
Eads said he didn't know Sanchez very well but said many of the freshmen did.
“He was pretty popular with many of the residents there,” Eads said. “I remember that some of the residents were touched … impacted when they found out he had been murdered.”
Funeral services for Sanchez will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Stuart at the Harold Lasiter Gymnasium.