MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 8, 2012

New trial rejected in murder case

Duo’s sentencing delayed to allow for investigation

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Muskogee County judge denied a local teenager’s request for a new trial and to set aside his conviction in the shooting death of 35-year-old Roshun English.

A lawyer representing Schiavone Anderson, one of four people charged in connection with the November 2011 homicide, said the verdict rendered against his client “was contrary to the law and the evidence.”

Anderson, 18, and convicted gunman Dawaan Norwood, 22, appeared in a heavily guarded courtroom Wednesday for sentencing. Jurors recommended life sentences for both with the possibility of parole. Because both men requested a presentence investigation, sentencing was delayed.

Stephen L. Cale, who represents Anderson, presented no specifics to support his argument that the “verdict was contrary to the law and the evidence.”

Assistant District Attorney Dan Medlock, who prosecuted the case against Anderson and Norwood, disagreed with Cale’s motion.

“The defendant must show that there is no evidence from which a jury could rationally conclude that the defendant was guilty,” Medlock states. “The defendant has failed to state any factual or legal basis for this motion.”

District Judge Thomas H. Alford denied the request for a new trial without entertaining oral arguments. Without objection from Medlock, he granted additional time for the presentence investigation reports to be prepared before the men are sentenced.

Muskogee County jurors found Norwood and Anderson guilty on Oct. 26 for their involvement with the Nov. 11 slaying of English at his Muskogee home. The guilty verdicts were based in part upon the testimony of two witnesses: English’s girlfriend, Dana Webb, and co-defendant Romonne Levell Johnson Jr., 17.

Johnson told jurors he and Anderson went to English’s home, where an altercation erupted. Johnson said Jacorey Billings and Norwood arrived about the same time. Billings allegedly ordered the trio to “look for anything of value.” Webb said English charged Norwood, who was holding the couple at gunpoint, and that the weapon discharged and killed English.

Johnson initially was charged with first-degree felony murder along with Norwood, Anderson and Billings, 21. He agreed to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for a 10-year sentence on a reduced charge of first-degree robbery as a youthful offender.

Billings is scheduled to appear Jan. 18 on the district court’s disposition docket to be tried separately. Norwood and Anderson are scheduled to return to court Jan. 9 for sentencing.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.