TULSA, Okla — Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler confirmed the suspect involved in Wednesday's hostage situation — Jujuan Ballard — was a key witness in a decades-long murder case.
Kunzweiler said Ballard was a cooperating witness in the Peggy Gaytan murder case.
When Jennifer Harmon heard the suspect’s name on Wednesday, she says it instantly rang a bell.
“Immediately I knew who it was," Harmon said. “He was subpoenaed as a witness at the prelim hearing for the person who killed Peggy."
Gaytan was 55-years-old when she was shot and killed during a robbery at the Shell station in midtown Tulsa in 2011. It took nearly 10 years for investigators to arrest a suspect and for the DA to charge him with her murder, but just months after those charges were filed, the DA says he was forced to drop them because a primary witness refused to testify.
Harmon met Gaytan while she was working at a gas station and she’s been following the case ever since.
“[Ballard's] death, albeit at the hands of law enforcement trying to rescue a victim, is a devastating blow to our ability to move forward in Ms. Gaytan’s case," Kunzweiler said.
However, Harmon says she is still hopeful justice will be served, eventually.
“Our neighborhood association Justice for Peggy, Oklahoma Victim’s Innocence Project, we always know that the law is going to get who needs to be prosecuted," Harmon said. "So he’s not going to get away with it. It's just a matter of time.“
Kunzweiler said although Ballard’s death is an upsetting blow, he is confident the Tulsa Police Department will continue its efforts to try and secure additional evidence or witnesses.
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