Prosecutors Will Weigh Hate Charges in Tulsa Shootings
Prosecutors will review whether hate crime charges are appropriate against Jake England and Alvin Watts, the men accused of shooting five African-Americans — three of them fatally — in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a district attorney said Monday.
“If the motivation is racial in this case, then that needs to be vetted in a court of law just like any others,” Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said. “It’s the law of the state of Oklahoma and if the facts and the evidence support that, then we’re going to go forward with it.”
An update posted to England’s Facebook page the day before the shootings noted it was the second anniversary of his father’s death “at the hands of a f—king n——r.” The entry also mentioned his girlfriend’s recent suicide.
A judge on Monday ordered England, 19, and Watts, 33, held on $9.16 million bond each on allegations of murder, shooting with intent to kill and possessing a gun in the commitment with intent to kill.
Authorities accuse the pair of gunning down apparent strangers at four different locations in a largely African-American section of Tulsa early Friday. England and Watts have not been formally charged, something the district attorney’s office said will happen only after the investigation and review of charges recommended by police are finished.