Tulsa County District Attorney pursues death penalty 4 times in 3 months

By: Lynn Casey

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office has pursued the death penalty for a murder defendant four times in less than three months.

The first filing since Steve Kunzweiler has been D.A. happened in September. The cases involved include:

  • Gregory Epperson, for the home invasion and strangulation death of Kelsey Tennant in March.
  • Gerald Lowe and Michaela Riddle, for the gang-related torture and murder of Courtney Palmer in November 2016.
  • Jacky Mayfield, for the shooting death of Markey Goff and Meshawna Jones at Chamberlain Park in June 2016.

Kunzweiler said seeking the death penalty is not as easy as simply filing. A first-degree murder conviction must also meet at least one of eight factors:

  • Previous conviction of a felony
  • Knowingly creating great risk to more than one person
  • Murder for hire
  • Especially heinous or cruel
  • Committed to avoid arrest or prosecution
  • While in prison on a felony conviction
  • The probability that the individual would continue to pose a threat to society
  • Murdering a peace or corrections officer while they are on duty

The prosecutors on the case then take the request to the death penalty review board and work to prove the case meets one or more of the criteria.

The wishes of victims' families also have weight.


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