Suspects both plead guilty in Tulsa shooting spree
Monday, April 9, 2012
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The explanation for a shooting rampage that terrorized Tulsa’s black neighborhood and left three people dead may lie in a killing that took place more than two years ago.
Carl England, whose son is accused in the weekend shooting spree, was fatally shot in 2010 by a man who had threatened his daughter and tried to kick in the door of her home.
The man was black, and police say England’s son may have been seeking vengeance when he and his roommate shot five black people last week.
Police documents given to the Associated Press said the two suspects have both confessed.
According to a police statement, 19-year-old Jake England admitted shooting three people and 32-year-old Alvin Watts confessed to shooting two.
Also Monday, the two suspects appeared in court to have their bond set at $9.16 million apiece. Authorities have said they expect to charge the pair with three counts of first-degree murder and other crimes.
Family and friends say Carl England’s death sent his son into a downward spiral. On Thursday, Jake England apparently wrote a Facebook post marking the second anniversary of his father’s death and lamented that “it’s hard not to go off.”
Back in 2010, Carl England had responded to his daughter’s call for help and with her boyfriend tracked down the man who tried to break in. A fight broke out, and the man took out a gun and fired at England.
The man who pulled the trigger, Pernell Jefferson, was not charged with homicide because an investigation determined he acted in self-defense.
Jefferson was charged with attempted burglary and a weapons violation and had his probation revoked in an unrelated weapons case for which he is serving a six-year sentence.
He is scheduled to be tried in May on the burglary charge.
According to an affidavit, Jefferson tried to kick in the door of the apartment England’s daughter shared with her boyfriend after the boyfriend hit him with a baseball bat during an earlier confrontation at the couple’s home.
When Carl England and the boyfriend found Jefferson, Jefferson came at England, who hit Jefferson with a stick. Jefferson fell to the ground, pulled out a handgun and fatally shot the elder England.
Jefferson fled but was arrested after seeking treatment for his injuries at a hospital.
Watts’ brother, Gene, told the Tulsa World that Watts moved in with England soon after his father died to help him rebuild his life and deal with his anger, which seemed to be racially focused.
“I’ve never known my brother to be no racist or anything like that,” Gene Watts said. “I know he was going through a little bit of depression problems, but other than that, he’s got in little scuffles before, but he’s never went off and done this.”