MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 6, 2013

Defense rips basis for charge

No theft took place, so felony murder not possible, lawyer argues

— If items were taken from a house the day Roshun English was killed, Jacorey Billings had nothing to do with it, his attorney said Tuesday.

Billings is accused of being part of a group that robbed and killed English, 35, on Nov. 11, 2011. Authorities have said the group went to English’s home in the 900 block of South Fourth Street to steal a set of rims English had in a shed behind his house.

The attorney, Donn Baker, continued Tuesday to press jurors on his belief that the rims had been taken from Billings, who went to the home to retrieve them.

But English’s girlfriend, Dana Webb, testified that a television, along with two cell phones and a wallet, had been taken from the house on the day English was killed. Webb has also alleged that Billings was the “ringleader” of the group and that he gave a gun to Dawaan Norwood, who shot and killed English.

Norwood, 22, was convicted of murder in October, as was Schiavone Anderson, 18. Both men received life sentences with the possibility of parole. Another member of the group, Romonne Johnson, 17, pleaded down to a youthful offender charge of first-degree robbery in exchange for his testimony.

Baker asked Webb whether she’d ever told anyone else about the missing television.

“I know I’ve said something about it before,” Webb said.

But Baker told jurors that he had read courtroom transcripts and seen Webb’s interview videos and had never seen or heard her say that.

“When the jury sees your interview, they won’t hear you say that,” he said.

If there was no robbery, of rims or of a TV,  Baker contended, Billings — who didn’t shoot English — can’t be guilty of felony murder.

Muskogee Police Department investigator Lance Hamm testified that three televisions were inside the home after the shooting. Hamm said he was told that a television in the living room might have prints on it. However, after clearing the house, he saw no TV in the room.

“It kind of confused me,” Hamm said.

He said it was possible that a TV was missing from the living room, but he wasn’t sure.

Assistant District Attorney Dan Medlock and Baker have also mentioned two cell phones and a wallet that were allegedly taken from the home. The items were found in an abandoned house not far from the crime scene.

Baker said, and Hamm agreed, that Billings’ DNA and fingerprints were not found on either the wallet or the cell phones.

Testimony will resume at 9:30 a.m. today.

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

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