Man overheard robbery plan in Tulsa murder case

James and Cedric Poore

Man overheard robbery plan in Tulsa murder case

CREATED Jul 16, 2013

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A family friend of two brothers charged in the January shooting deaths of four women at a run-down Tulsa apartment complex testified Tuesday that he overheard one of the brothers talking about plans to pull off a robbery on the morning of the killings.

Deandre Jones, 24, testified that he overheard James Poore ask someone if they were "ready to hit this lick?" during a private conversation in an apartment bedroom that also involved Jones' sister and the other accused brother, Cedric Poore. Jones said he understood the term "pull a lick" to mean committing a robbery.

Prosecutors allege the Poore brothers robbed 23-year-old twins Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Melchor, 33-year-old Misty Nunley and 55-year-old Julie Jackson on Jan. 7, then shot them to death because the pair feared they might be identified.

James and Cedric Poore have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the killings and are being represented by different attorneys.

Tuesday marked the second day of the preliminary hearing, where a Tulsa special judge is deciding whether there is enough evidence against the brothers to proceed to a trial.

Due to delays because of dozens of back-and-forth objections by the attorneys involved and the court's early adjournment Tuesday afternoon, only Jones testified.

The preliminary hearing will resume Sept. 9, the court ruled late Tuesday.

Attorneys for the Poore brothers tried to portray Jones as an unreliable witness at best who admitted to frequently smoking marijuana in the two months before the killings and was plagued with numerous vision problems from birth, such as cataracts, which called into question how he recalled the events on the day of the killings.

"Can you tell what color tie I'm wearing?" asked John Echols, defense attorney for Cedric Poore, on cross-examination.

"No," Jones replied.

"Can you tell what type of chair I'm sitting in?" Echols asked.

"An office chair?" Jones responded.

Echols, who was sitting in a wheelchair about 20 feet from the witness box, also asked whether Jones had changed his account of events to protect his sister and others who are alleged to have information about the killings. Jones denied that.

In the afternoon session, with Jones still on the stand, Echols accused the witness of tailoring his testimony to suit prosecutors, saying Jones seemed not to recall basic events of the day of the murders when quizzed by defense attorneys.

"Apparently, your memory is better when prosecutors ask the questions then when the defense asks the questions," Echols charged.

Prosecutors objected immediately, saying Echols was being argumentative with the witness, who admitted in testimony that he had a learning disability.

In testimony Monday, the 19-year-old niece of James Poore testified that he confided to her that he'd committed the crime and toild her that he had to go home to take a shower after the shootings because he had blood on him.

Last week, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied a bid by defense attorneys seeking the recusal of the special judge overseeing the early stages of the case.

The attorneys had argued that the judge, Stephen Clark, ordered a witness to meet with district attorneys or face the risk of prosecution, making the witness believe she must "play ball" with the prosecutors.

The court rejected that claim , paving the way for the preliminary hearing to begin.

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