APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF TULSA COUNTY THE HONORABLE
WILLIAM D. LAFORTUNE, DISTRICT JUDGE
STANLEY D. MONROE KIRSTEN PALFREYMAN COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT
DOSS BECKY JOHNSON ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS COUNSEL FOR
H. LOCKARD, DEPUTY DIVISION CHIEF OKLAHOMA INDIGENT DEFENSE
SCOTT PRUITT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA JAY SCHNIEDERJAN
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE STATE
LUMPKIN, PRESIDING JUDGE
Appellant, Isaac Luna Ashton, was tried by jury and convicted
of First Degree Murder (Counts 1 & 2) (21 O.S.Supp.2012,
§ 701.7 (A)) and Carrying a Weapon Unlawfully (Count 4)
(21 O.S.Supp.2013, § 1272) in District Court of Tulsa
County Case Number CF-2014-4108.  The jury recommended as
punishment imprisonment for life without the possibility of
parole in both Count 1 and Count 2. The jury further
recommended incarceration in the county jail for thirty (30)
days in Count 4. The trial court sentenced Appellant
accordingly, ordered the sentence in Count 4 to run
concurrent with Counts 1 and 2, and ordered the sentences in
Counts 1 and 2 to run consecutively. It is from these
judgments and sentences which Appellant appeals.
On August 18, 2014, Appellant shot and killed both Verdell
Walker and Tiara Sawyer. The homicides occurred in the
parking lot outside Appellant's apartment at 47th and
Darlington in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Four different individuals
were outside the apartments that day and observed the
incident. At trial, they described what had occurred. None of
the witnesses observed any physical contact between the
parties. Neither Walker nor Sawyer was armed. Walker did not
attack Appellant. He did not fight Appellant for the gun.
Instead, Appellant was the aggressor. He shot both Walker and
Sawyer after Walker cursed him.
Appellant, his girlfriend, Tyesha Goff, and his best friend,
Doneka Brown, had recently become acquainted with Walker and
Sawyer. The duo lived in an apartment near Appellant's
home. They visited Appellant's home on the night of
August 17th without any problem.
The next morning, Walker and Sawyer asked Appellant for a
ride to a tag agency. Goff gave the duo a ride in the Gold
Honda CRV which Appellant's mother owned. When they
returned to Appellant's apartment, Goff and Sawyer argued
over Goff's missing cellphone. The two women yelled
loudly at each other.
The argument lasted for close to ten minutes. It grew to
include all five of the individuals. Goff and Brown argued
with Sawyer as Appellant searched the apartment for the
phone. Walker and Sawyer remained in the parking lot. They
stood just outside the small fenced enclosure which led to
the front door of the apartment. Appellant entered the fray
after Walker cursed Goff. He walked to the waist high gate,
opened it and declared: "You better step off my lady,
Walker backed further out into the parking lot. Sawyer went
with him. After several feet, Walker stopped and took a few
steps back towards Appellant. He gestured with his hands in
the air similar to a referee declaring a touchdown in a game
of football. Walker exclaimed, "You're a
bitch."  He laughed and backed away from
Appellant walked out into the parking lot. He drew his Smith
& Wesson.38 special from his waist, pointed it at Walker,
and declared; "I got your bitch right here."
From approximately four feet away, Appellant shot Walker one
time in the abdomen. Walker fell to the ground.
Sawyer took off running towards a nearby pole. Appellant
chased her and shot her in the head with the gun. After
Sawyer fell to the ground, Appellant returned to where Walker
lay on the ground. He shot Walker on the side of his head.
Appellant, Brown and Goff fled the scene. Goff drove the trio
away from the apartments in the Gold Honda CRV. They
travelled to the home of Appellant's mother in Jenks. The
Tulsa Police Department in cooperation with the Jenks Police
Department placed the home under surveillance. Brown
telephoned her mother and asked her to come pick her up. When
she arrived, Brown, Appellant and Goff got into the car.
Appellant laid down in the backseat so he could not been
seen. However, the surveilling officers had seen him enter
the car and they stopped the vehicle and placed him under
After Appellant waived his rights under Miranda,
Detective Justin Ritter of the Tulsa Police Department
interviewed him concerning the events. Appellant noted that
Ritter's shirt indicated that he worked for the Homicide
Division and asked Ritter: "Who died?"
Appellant did not claim accident, self-defense, or defense of
another. Instead, he repeatedly claimed that he did not know
anything about the events. He informed Ritter that he was not
present at the apartments that day. He claimed that he did
not stay at the apartment in question and asserted that he
did not know why Ritter was questioning him concerning the
deaths of Walker and Sawyer.
Joshua Lanter, M.D., of the State Medical Examiner's
Office performed an autopsy on Walker's body. He found
that Walker had been shot through the abdomen. This gunshot
had transected his aorta and would have likely been fatal.
This injury was consistent with Walker turning to run away
from the shooter. Lanter further found that Walker had also
been shot through the right ear. This gunshot caused
excessive injury to Walker's brain and was incompatible
with life. This injury was consistent with the shooter firing
at Walker while he was on the ground. Lanter further found
that Walker did not have any injuries to his hands which
would be consistent with fisticuffs. Lanter determined that
Walker had died from the gunshot wounds. He recovered both
projectiles from Walker's body.
Lanter also performed an autopsy on Sawyer's body. He
found that Sawyer had been shot through the left temple.
Lanter was able to recover the projectile from Sawyer's
body. He did not find any recent injuries on Sawyer's
hands. Lanter determined that the single gunshot wound caused
Officers executed a search warrant on the home of
Appellant's mother and found Appellant's.38 special
handgun and some spent shell casings. Firearms Examiner, Joy
Patterson, of the Tulsa Police Department compared the
projectiles recovered from the bodies of Walker and Sawyer
with the handgun. She determined that the handgun had fired
the projectiles which had killed the duo.
Brown testified at trial on Appellant's behalf. Although
she had given a different account to the detectives when she
was initially interviewed concerning the incident, Brown
asserted that Walker had hit Goff. She claimed that Appellant
only shot Walker after Walker threatened him and rushed at
Appellant testified in his own defense at trial. He wholly
admitted that he had repeatedly lied to Detective Ritter
during his interview. He further admitted that he was
carrying the handgun without a license. Although he asserted
that he had not intended to shoot either Walker or Sawyer,
Appellant claimed that Walker had hit Goff, threatened to
kill him, and came at him. Appellant admitted that he had
pulled out the gun and pointed it at Walker but claimed that
he had inadvertently pulled the trigger on the gun in
reaction to Walker. Appellant asserted that Walker pushed
against his free arm, he stepped backwards, and in the
process the gun simply fired. Appellant further claimed that
Walker had reached for the gun.
Appellant explained that the initial shot hit Walker in the
abdomen. He asserted that he fired the gun two more times
because Walker continued to advance on him. He related that
he closed his eyes, turned his head, and shot the gun twice
more from approximately his waist level. He acknowledged that
he had fled the scene with Brown and Goff. He asserted that
he had panicked.
On cross-examination, Appellant admitted that neither Walker
nor Sawyer was armed with any weapons. He acknowledged that
his revolver had to be held in just the right position to
fire because it was missing the frame lug. Despite this fact,
he maintained that he randomly fired the shots which hit
Walker and Sawyer in the head. Although he retracted his
claim that he fired these shots with the gun at waist level,
he continued to assert that he had fired the shots with both
his eyes closed and his head turned.
In his first proposition of error, Appellant contends that he
was denied his constitutional right to present a complete
defense. Citing Tyesha Goff's invocation of the Fifth
Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, he
argues that he was precluded from presenting Goff's
account of the homicides.
"[T]he Constitution guarantees criminal defendants a
meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense."
Crane v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 683, 690, 106 S.Ct.
2142, 2146, 90 L.Ed.2d 636 (1986) (quotations and citation
omitted). However, a defendant's right to present
relevant evidence is not unlimited, but rather is subject to
reasonable restrictions. United States v. Scheffer,
523 U.S. 303, 308, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 1264, 140 L.Ed.2d 413
(1998); Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284, 295,
93 S.Ct. 1038, 1045-1046, 35 L.Ed.2d 297 (1973). "The
accused does not have an unfettered right to offer testimony
that is incompetent, privileged, or otherwise inadmissible
under standard rules of evidence." Taylor v.
Illinois, 484 U.S. 400, 410, 108 S.Ct. 646, 653, 98
L.Ed.2d 798 (1988). This Court has recognized that a
meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense does not
include the right to compel a witness to give testimony in
contravention of the witness's privilege against
self-incrimination. Pavatt v. State, 2007 OK CR 19,
¶ 43, 159 P.3d 272, 286; Sherrick v. State,
1986 OK CR 142, ¶ 6, 725 P.2d 1278, 1282; Bryant v.
State, 1967 OK CR 196, ¶ 9, 434 P.2d 498, 500.
Appellant, first, argues that the trial court erred when it
allowed Goff to invoke the privilege against
self-incrimination. He mistakenly asserts that Goff's
recitation of the circumstances which occurred prior to
Appellant's flight from the apartment complex would not
have tended to subject her to criminal prosecution. We review
the trial court's ...