An Oklahoma man said he doesn’t hate African-Americans and counts some of them among his best friends. Murder and hate crime charges were filed on Friday accusing him and another man of killing three strangers because they were black.
Clark Brewster, lawyer for 19-year-old Jake England, told reporters Friday he would not comment specifically about the April 6 shootings that left three dead and two others wounded in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He did show a video of an interview his team conducted and recorded with England from jail, in which the suspect described the trauma of watching first his father and then, nearly two years later, his girlfriend being shot dead a few feet away from him.
England also talked of growing up and living in North Tulsa, which has a large African-American community, and saying he had friends of all races.
“I always got along with everybody,” he said in the tape, recorded Friday morning. “It didn’t matter what color he was.”
That view is starkly different from the portrayal of England offered by prosecutors, as well as in the probable cause affidavit that led to the arrest of him and 33-year-old Alvin Watts.
In addition to commenting on his girlfriend’s suicide in January, England lamented his father’s death exactly two years earlier “at the hands of a f–king n—-r” in an April 5 message on his Facebook page.
England said in the jailhouse interview that he used those words “just to express how I was upset at the guy who shot my Dad” and they do not mean he was a racist.
Authorities say he and Watts went into a largely African-American section of Tulsa shortly after midnight and gunned down apparent strangers at four locations. Two men and one woman died after being shot in the chest — with one of them found “lying face down” outside a funeral home — while two others were shot and survived.
All the shooting victims are black. Police have identified Watts and England as white, though the probable cause affidavit released Friday noted England was a co-owner of a truck that had Cherokee Nation license plates.
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