Murder suspect from East Central University may have targeted other students

An 18-year-old murder defendant known for walking around in a black suit and using a cane may have targeted other ECU students living at the school's freshmen dorms, the suspect's suite mate says.
by Andrew Knittle Published: December 11, 2012

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.

‘Suit guy'

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.


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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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