MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 12, 2013

Trial ordered in September slaying

Key witness says defendant vowed to retrieve money allegedly taken by victim

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Muskogee teenager accused in the city’s only shooting death of 2012 was ordered bound over for trial Friday after testimony concluded in his preliminary hearing.

John Eldridge Cone, 18, is charged with first-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon in the Sept. 6 shooting death of Skyler Brewer.

Brewer, 26, was shot several times in the upper torso outside a house in the 2000 block of West Broadway. He was pronounced dead at Muskogee Regional Medical Center about an hour after the shooting.

Friday marked the third day of Cone’s preliminary hearing, which began in early November with testimony from witnesses who were with Brewer the night he was killed. The hearing continued three weeks later when Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore handed in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s report on Brewer’s death. Cone’s attorney, Jay Cook, said then that he wanted Tenesha Nunley, who was with Cone the night of the shooting, to testify.

Nunley, 28, took the stand Friday and said she had known Cone for less than two months when the shooting occurred, but she’d known Brewer, whom she called “Solo,” for years.

Nunley said Cone, who she testified had no job and whose sole income was through the sale of PCP (a hallucinogen), had come over earlier that night to borrow her 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe.

When Cone returned the vehicle, Nunley said, he questioned her about missing money that had been placed on her dryer — the money Cone was allegedly asking Brewer for when Brewer was shot.

Nunley replied that she hadn’t seen it, and when Cone asked her who had been at her home since he had left, she replied, “Solo.”

“He said, ‘I’m going to get my money,’” Nunley said in court.

In a statement she gave to police in September, Nunley said that Cone knew where Brewer would be.

The next time Nunley saw Cone, she said, was when he was bringing her vehicle keys back in the time that would have been following the shooting. She then saw him leave in an older model gray four-door car, she said.

Nunley testified that following the shooting, she began receiving threats to her and her children, so she left her children at a friend’s house and traveled to another location where she was eventually located by Muskogee police.

Nunley was questioned briefly by police, but they released her, saying she was not a person of interest in Brewer’s death.

She was arrested four days later and charged with distribution of controlled dangerous substance after police received information that she was selling PCP out of her home.

Family members reported Nunley missing in September, but Muskogee police canceled the search after they saw surveillance footage of Nunley at a Tulsa school.

Cone will return to court at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 for his arraignment.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.