TULSA WORLD: The two men accused of shooting three people to death and injuring two last week were formally charged Friday with the deaths and with violating Oklahoma's hate crime statute.
Jacob Carl England, 19, and Alvin Lee Watts, 33, were charged with three counts each of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious intimidation or harassment.
Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31, were shot to death in the early morning hours of April 6. David Hall, 46, and Deon Tucker, 44, were both shot but survived.
"Filing charges is the first step to obtain justice for the victims and their families," said Doug Drummond, Tulsa County first assistant district attorney. "This is a tragic and senseless crime. Our office is committed to holding those responsible accountable for their actions."
REUTERS: Shortly before the killings, England had lamented on his Facebook page that two years had passed since his father was killed by a black man, to whom he referred with a racial slur.
Police have described the shootings as random because the pair of self-employed laborers did not know any of their victims. One witness said the gunman simply pulled his pickup truck to the side of the street and asked for directions before opening fire.
The suspects were arrested on Sunday after multiple anonymous telephone tips named them as the killers.
Conviction on murder charges in Oklahoma could result in a death sentence, so the misdemeanor hate-crime charge will do nothing to enhance the penalty, but it does carry a symbolic value, civil rights leaders have said.
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