TULSA - At a press conference Friday afternoon, well-known Tulsa attorney Clark O. Brewster announced he will defend north Tulsa shooting spree suspect Jake England, and released a jail house interview he conducted with his client.
England, 19, was arrested for the Good Friday shooting spree that left three dead and two injured.
On Friday, England and his roommate, 33-year-old Alvin Watts, were charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious harassment.
Bobby Clark, Dannaer Fields and William Allen were all found dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest April 6.
Deon Tucker, 44, and David Hall, 46, were also wounded but survived the shootings.
Brewster says he took the case "pro bono" after receiving a letter from England's mother, Teri Alexander, who is an inmate at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Okla.
In the letter, Alexander said, "I am writing to plead with you to represent (England) because only excellent representation perhaps combined with a miracle can save him from certain death in this high profile case."
"We felt a tremendous need to step up after we received that letter from the mother," said Brewster. "I know it's not the most popular thing to do, given the present climate in the press, but as a firm we felt it was necessary to do what we could do for this young man."
In the jail house interview with England, Brewster asked his client about the death of his dad in 2010 and his girlfriend's suicide in January of this year.
The teenage suspect said his dad was shot in front of him as he tried to defend England's sister.
As for his girlfriend's death, England said "She shot herself in the head about two feet away from me and our son was right there in the same room."
England said his girlfriend's death impacted him "more than anybody could really ever imagine."
After his girlfriend took her life, England was left to care for their young child as well as his girlfriend's other child. He was also raising his young sister.
When it comes to the racial slur he used on his Facebook page, England said it was the first time he had ever used such a word to describe someone.
"It was just to express the way I was upset about the guy that shot my dad, but that's the only time I expressed anything like that about somebody," he said.
Brewster also asked England if he had any hatred of black people. England said no.
"The line of work I was in, the place I lived, we always had to get along with everybody, didn't matter what color you was," said England.
Brewster said his goal is to make sure England's constitutional rights are protected.
"Our goal is to make sure there's not just a runaway interpretation of the facts that leads to virtually a public lynching or death penalty," said Brewster.
Asked if England had expressed any remorse for the shootings, Brewster said "I can tell you that in our first interview he was very emotional."
The decision whether to seek the death penalty will be made at a later date.
Below is the full text of the letter:
April 9, 2012
Dear Mr. Brewster,
I just saw the devastating news about my son Jake England's arrest in the random shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma yesterday evening. I am writing to plead with you to represent him because only excellent representation perhaps combined with a miracle can save him from certain death in this high profile case.
Jake has had to deal with far more than his share of burdens in his short life and unfortunately he has not had the best set of circumstances to prepare him for these burdens. Although his father Carl and I loved him and his two sisters Carly and Cady dearly, we divorced when they were very young and Carl raised the kids mostly on his own. He was a loving parent, but overwhelmed at times I am sure. I had a severe drug problem that culminated in me coming to prison nearly a decade ago after committing arson in an attempt to end an abusive relationship.
Our family does not hate black people. Two of my beloved grandchildren are African American. After Carl's murder in an attempt to defend Carly and her African American boyfriend from and African American assailant, Jake had a lot of responsibilities piled on him and I think it was all too much. Then just recently his girlfriend shot herself in front of his eyes with their baby and her toddler in the room. Jake was then responsible for my youngest child Cady, his baby and his girlfriend's small child. I could do nothing but write letters and hear about these horrible events secondhand.
I am desperate to help my son in any way I can and I believe that the media, the justice system and the wounded African American community will be so eager to make an example out of Jake that his humanity, his youth, and his core of essential goodness will be forgotten. Jake has lost the will to live, so I must have the will for him to go on and to fight for