TULSA (AP) — One of two brothers accused of fatally shooting four women in Tulsa was tipped off about drugs, money and jewelry in the apartment where the women lived and were later found dead, a friend of one brother testified Monday.
Jamila Jones, 21, testified that she briefly visited victim Rebeika Powell's apartment early on Jan. 7 to get a cigarette and saw jewelry, money and methamphetamine wrapped in tiny baggies with Smiley face stickers on each one laid out on Powell's table.
Jones quickly called James Poore, who was staying at her apartment in the same rundown complex the women lived in. Jones testified that James Poore wanted to know what she saw at Powell's apartment because “he wanted to hit a lick,” or pull off a robbery.
James Poore along with his brother, Cedric Poore, are accused of robbing Powell and her 23-year-old twin, Kayetie Melchor, 33-year-old Misty Nunley and 55-year-old Julie Jackson that January morning, then shooting them to death because the pair feared they might be identified.
Both brothers have pleaded not guilty and are being represented by separate attorneys.
Monday was the third day of testimony in the preliminary hearing to determine whether the brothers will be bound over for trial. The hearing was continued from mid-July due to several scheduling conflicts and could last most of the week.
Jones testified Monday for the prosecution under an agreement she had with the state that she would not face prosecution if she told the truth.
Jones testified that Cedric Poore met up with James Poore at her apartment, left and were gone for about 20 minutes before they came back.
Jones testified that Cedric had a backpack and a gun on his hip when he returned to the apartment, and they all went into a back bedroom. In the backpack was money, jewelry, baggies of meth and a food stamp card with Powell's name on it, Jones testified.
“Cedric asked James if he knew someone that wanted to buy the jewelry … James took the ice; Cedric took the jewelry,” Jones testified. She said the brothers split about $300 and gave her $15. The food stamp card was tossed in the trash, Jones testified.
When Jones tried to ask James Poore why the brothers did the crime, she said James Poore told her “he just had to do it, and that “bro finished the other three.”
Before the afternoon break, Kathy Fry, James Poore's defense attorney, tried to imply that Jones changed her story because she initially told authorities about a local drug dealer called Suave who Powell was afraid of for some reason. Jones disagreed.
Fry got Jones to acknowledge that she once bought drugs from Powell in the past.
Jones' cross-examination is expected to continue Monday afternoon.