Tulsa Shooting Suspects Held on $9M Bail Each
Two Oklahoma men accused in a deadly Tulsa shooting spree that set the city on edge are behind bars in lieu of more than $9 million bail each, the Tulsa World reports.
Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, made their initial court appearances Monday via video link, but they were not charged. Arraignment was pushed back to April 16 so prosecutors can review the case, the World reports.
One Tulsa city councilman called the shooting spree a hate crime, because all the victims were black and the suspects appear to be white, NPR reports.
But prosecutors urged caution.
"It's preliminary to determine what the motivation was behind this," Tulsa County's district attorney told the World. "If ... we believe that we can prove the elements of a hate crime, that will certainly be considered at the appropriate time.
In Friday's Tulsa shooting spree, three people were killed and two others were critically wounded in a two-hour span. The victims were black pedestrians who were apparently targeted at random, the Associated Press reports.
Tips from the community led to the capture of Jake England and Alvin Watts, police said.
Investigators are also looking into an allegedly racist post on England's Facebook page, which revealed England's father was shot and killed by a black man during an argument, NPR reports.
With the anniversary of his father's killing, and the suicide of his fiancée, "It's hard not to go off," England -- whom a friend described as Cherokee Indian -- allegedly wrote in a post that's already been removed.
Oklahoma's hate crime statute makes it illegal to intimidate or harass someone because of a person's race, color, or ancestry. A first offense is a misdemeanor, but a subsequent offense is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Bail for Tulsa shooting spree suspects Jake England and Alvin Watts was set at $3 million for each victim killed, $75,000 each for two shootings with intent to kill, and $10,000 for the possession of a firearm, the World reports.
- Oklahoma Shooting Rampage: Jake England and Alvin Watts arrested for Tulsa killings (CBS News)
- Hate Crimes (FindLaw)
- Assault + Racial Slur = A Hate Crime (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Sooners to Supreme Court: Stop Minding Oklahoma Business? (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court blog)