By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
Elbert “Lee” Meeks told police that he got drunk after he learned that he was a suspect in the shooting death of a 2-year-old Muskogee boy.
Jurors watched more than an hour of a recorded interview Meeks gave police Dec. 22, 2011, the day after Ja’Cion Logan was killed. In it, Meeks denied shooting Ja’Cion and told investigator Rob Frazier that friends who saw his face on television news broadcasts advised him to turn himself in to the police.
Meeks, who was celebrating his 21st birthday Dec. 21, 2011, had been drinking. He told his friends that he didn’t want to talk to police while he was drunk. Meeks said he was afraid that officers might “put words in his mouth” if he gave a statement while intoxicated.
In the video, he told Frazier that his friends encouraged him to keep drinking, so he would be unable to make a statement.
Meeks repeatedly denied being at the house in the 1100 block of Indianapolis Street when Ja’Cion was shot in the head.
“If you showed me a map, I couldn’t even tell you where Indianapolis Street is,” Meeks told Frazier.
During the 70-minute interview, Meeks told Frazier that he had been sending text messages to girls and using a computer at the time Ja’Cion was killed. It wasn’t until a cousin called him to say he was a suspect in Ja’Cion’s death that Meeks heard what happened, he told Frazier.
But Frazier testified that he didn’t believe Meeks’ story.
“Some things didn’t add up,” he said.
The investigator said he asked Meeks to start his story at a specific time before the shooting but that Meeks began his account much earlier than requested.
“It sounded rehearsed,” Frazier said.
He said it was hard to corroborate Meeks’ story, because Meeks had told investigators that he had been home alone when Ja’Cion was shot. Frazier testified that the house Meeks said he was at is “four or five blocks” from the crime scene — about a “five minute or less” walk.
During the taped interview, Frazier attempted to get Meeks to open up by offering up a story of self-defense. He asked Meeks whether it was possible that Meeks had gone to the house that day to confront a person he “had a beef” with. Perhaps, Frazier said, Meeks had taken a gun as a precaution, and the gun went off during a struggle, killing Ja’Cion.
“You’re trying to say it was self-defense?” Meeks asked. “I’m sticking with what I said. I wasn’t there.”
Roger Hilfiger, one of Meeks’ defense attorneys, asked Frazier whether that line of questioning was truly Frazier’s theory about what happened that night.
“No,” Frazier said.
Hilfiger asked Frazier whether he had said in the video that it was “his theory.”
“Yes,” Frazier replied.
“So you lied?” Hilfiger asked.
Frazier responded that, in order to get to the truth, officers will sometimes lie to a defendant to get the suspect to open up.
Testimony is expected to wrap up Monday when the trial resumes at 9 a.m.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.