TULSA (AP) — Two men treated the mass shootings in Tulsa that killed three black people and wounded two more as a contest, the uncle of one of the men charged testified Wednesday.
Timothy Hoey, the uncle of 19-year-old Jake England and an inmate in the Tulsa County Jail, testified during a preliminary hearing that Alvin Watts told him that he and England were trying to see who could shoot the most people the night of April 6.
Hoey said Watts told him a day after the killings that Watts and England each shot two people, and England shot the fifth victim “that would break the tie,” he said. Hoey also testified that the day after the shootings, England used racial slurs to describe whom they shot.
England, 19, and Watts, 33, face murder and hate crimes charges stemming from the Easter weekend shootings that killed William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields as they were walking near their homes.
The shootings happened in a predominantly black section of the city and all of the victims were black. Watts is white and England identifies himself as Cherokee Indian. Authorities believe England may have targeted black people because he wanted to avenge his father's shooting death by a black man two years ago.
Hoey took the witness stand before Tulsa County Special Judge David Youll. He told prosecutors that he is in jail on several charges, including false impersonation, in several states.
When cross-examined by England's defense attorney, Rob Nigh, Hoey admitted he was going to do whatever it took to help his cause and that he was told it would be in his best interest to testify on Wednesday.
England's other defense attorney, Clark Brewster, tried to portray his client as being friendly with black people, living on the predominantly black north side. Brewster also suggested his client might have been taking medication for depression.
Prosecutors had called four witnesses out of an estimated 12 before a brief afternoon recess. The preliminary hearing is for a judge to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed with a trial.
The first witness to testify Wednesday was Cindy Wilde, the mother of England's ex-girlfriend, who sold England a pistol she had purchased at a pawnshop several weeks before the shootings.
When Wilde heard about the shootings on the news, she confronted England and asked him if he would ever do something like that.
“Yes, I might have,” Wilde testified that England said.
Wilde said she asked England what had happened that night and England told her he was headed to a casino, shot somebody, then went to the casino and then shot some more people.
“I said, `Oh my God, you didn't use my pistol?' “ Wilde testified.
She said England replied said “yes,” but told Wilde not to worry because “they'll never, ever find it.”
Watts and England sat apart from each other in the courtroom and are represented by different attorneys. The mohawk haircut that England had when his initial booking mug shot was taken has been shaved.
As testimony — at times emotional — was given, England and Watts sat stone-faced. England rested his chin in his hand.
Testimony is to resume later Wednesday afternoon.