APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF McCURTAIN COUNTY THE
HONORABLE GARY L. BROCK, SPECIAL JUDGE
HASELGREN, JOE ROBERTSON ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANT
MATLOFF DISTRICT ATTORNEY, JOHNNY LOARD ASSISTANT DISTRICT
ATTORNEY ATTORNEYS FOR STATE
LeFRANCOIS ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT
HUNTER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, THEODORE M. PEEPER, ASSISTANT
ATTORNEY GENERAL ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE
VICE PRESIDING JUDGE
Appellant, John Patrick Williamson, was tried by jury and
convicted of first degree (malice) murder, in violation of 21
O.S.Supp.2012, § 701.7 (A), in the District Court of
McCurtain County, case number CF-2015-147, before the
Honorable Gary L. Brock, Special Judge. The jury set
punishment at life imprisonment without parole and Judge
Brock pronounced judgment and sentence according to the
verdict. Mr. Williamson now appeals to this Court.
Appellant shot and killed his step-brother, Michael Sean
Daniel, in the middle of the road near Idabel, Oklahoma, in
McCurtain County. Two witnesses, Kathy Minor and Gwen
Devasier, saw Daniel on his knees in the road while Appellant
shot him once in the chest. Daniel fell and Appellant shot
him again in the face. Daniel had also been shot in the arm.
Appellant walked to his pickup and drove away, leaving Daniel
in the road. Daniel's motorcycle was parked just a few
yards from where he was lying and the killing took place near
Earlier, another witness saw the victim's motorcycle and
Appellant's pickup traveling east on the road at a high
rate of speed with the pickup just about fifty yards behind
the motorcycle. Investigators found spots that appeared to be
blood on the left side of the motorcycle.
The medical examiner found three wounds to the victim; a
wound to his left arm went through his arm and into the left
side of his chest. There was one to the right side of his
chest, and one to the right side of the victim's face.
The victim had a blood alcohol content of.14 percent. He also
had levels of the anti-depressants Sertraline and Trazodone
in his system.
This shooting was the culmination of a feud between Appellant
and his step-mother's family, including his step-brother
Michael Daniel, which began soon after his father died. His
step mother, Anita Williamson, testified that when her
estranged husband, John Henry Williamson, died, Appellant
moved into his house. Mrs. Williamson was, however, a joint
owner and she started proceedings to have him removed from
One day, about seven months prior to this shooting, Mrs.
Williamson went with the victim, who was her son, to visit a
couple of friends and talk about getting Appellant out of the
house. They sat around drinking beer and decided they should
get Appellant out of the house before he had a chance to
cause damage. They went to the house and Daniel and one
friend went to the door. Appellant met them at the door
carrying a cane. Appellant struck both men with the cane and
they went to the ground. Mrs. Williamson went to the door
carrying a baseball bat. She told her step-son that the house
was hers and she wanted him out. Appellant gathered his
children and drove away. Mrs. Williamson stayed there that
night and apparently moved in.
Another time, about five weeks prior to the shooting, Mrs.
Williamson and Daniel drove by Appellant and he started
hollering, yelling and cursing them out. They just drove on
by. Later that day, however, Daniel received threatening text
messages from Appellant in an attempt to get Daniel to fight
The night before the shooting Appellant stayed at the home of
Jeffrey and Gayla Alford. On the morning of May 6, Appellant
drove to Wal-mart in Idabel, where he was caught on video,
and drove back to the Alford home. Around 2:30 p.m. Appellant
received a call and went outside to answer the call. He came
back in and told Gayla Alford that he would be spending the
night in Broken Bow. Witnesses remembered seeing the shooting
occur at about 3:40 p.m.
After Appellant drove away from the scene of the shooting he
drove to Cheryl Tutt's house arriving there about 4:00
p.m. Tutt is Gayla Alford's sister. Tutt testified that
she invited Appellant in and he looked scared. He was shaking
and sweating. His color was pale. He told her, "I done
it and somebody saw my truck." Appellant was wearing the
same Carhartt shirt that Wal-mart video showed he was wearing
before the shooting. Appellant asked Tutt to drive him to
Texarkana, but she could not because she did not have her
car. Appellant asked for back-road directions to Gayla's
house. He asked Tutt to not say anything to anybody. After
Appellant left, Tutt called Gayla and told her Appellant was
on his way and something was not right.
Appellant arrived at the Alford home, but he was no longer
wearing the blue Carhartt shirt. Appellant asked Gayla to
take him to Texarkana, but she could not. He asked her for
money, told her he loved her, and asked her to take his dog.
He wanted her to not think he was a bad person, but he had to
Investigators found the blue Carhartt shirt near where
Appellant had parked at the Tutt house. They also found a box
of.22 caliber shells nearby. Appellant's pickup was
located in Hope, Arkansas the next morning and Appellant was
eventually arrested nearby at around 8:00 a.m.
Appellant claims in proposition one that his trial was
fundamentally unfair because the admission of prejudicial and
otherwise improper law enforcement testimony invaded the
province of the jury. Appellant concedes that most of the
testimony came without objection, so this Court reviews those
instances for plain error only.
To be entitled to relief for plain error, an appellant must
show: "(1) the existence of an actual error (i.e.,
deviation from a legal rule); (2) that the error is plain or
obvious; and (3) that the error affected his substantial
rights, meaning the error affected the outcome of the
proceeding." Hogan v. State, 2006 OK CR 19,
¶ 38, 139 P.3d 907, 923; see Simpson v. State,
1994 OK CR 40, ¶¶ 3, 11, 23, 876 P.2d 690, 694,
695, 698. This Court will only correct plain error if the
error seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public
reputation of the judicial proceedings or otherwise
represents a miscarriage of justice. Hogan, 2006 OK
CR 19, ¶ 38, 139 P.3d at 923.
Appellant complains about OSBI Agent Whit Kent's
testimony. His testimony, Appellant contends, was a rehash of
other witnesses' testimony using a timeline to summarize
the State's theory of the case. Appellant also complains
that Agent Kent was allowed to testify regarding the contents
of recordings of Appellant's jail conversations before
the recordings were introduced to the jury.
Agent Kent testified about a timeline prepared by him and
introduced as an exhibit with no objection by Appellant. His
testimony about the timeline was a summary of the
investigation and what information he gathered to form the
basis for the timeline. His testimony did not give an opinion
regarding the veracity of the witnesses' testimony. As
such, his testimony did not amount to improper bolstering or
vouching. See Warner v. State, 2006 OK CR 40, ¶
24, 144 P.3d 838, 860-61, overruled on other grounds
Taylor v. State, 2018 OK CR 6, ___P.3d___ (where there
is no expression of personal belief in witnesses'
credibility or that evidence not presented supports
witnesses' testimony there is no improper vouching).
Contrary to Appellant's argument, Kent's testimony
did not force the jury to ignore its responsibility to make
its own conclusions based on the facts and circumstances
appearing in evidence. This testimony, therefore, was not
improper as it did not tell the jury what conclusions to
reach. Romano v. State, 1995 OK CR 74, ¶ 21,
909 P.2d 92, 109.
Kent's testimony may have reiterated some of the
witnesses' testimony; however, the reiteration was not so
cumulative that its probative value was substantially
outweighed in violation of 12 O.S.2011, § 2402. The
testimony was probative to show the steps in the
investigation, why the focus was on Appellant, and how law
enforcement conducted their investigation leading to
Kent's testimony about the recordings of Appellant's
jail conversations also garnered no objection by defense
counsel, thus we review for plain error only. Appellant
complains that, in setting a foundation for the introduction
of the recordings, Kent testified about incriminating phrases
on the recordings just before the trial court admitted the
tapes. Appellant's only complaint is that the testimony
bolstered the recordings, was cumulative of the recordings,
and usurped the jury's ability to decide what was on the
Here, the jury was not asked to abandon its own perception of
the recordings and substitute its interpretation for that of
Kent. Kent only testified about the phrases he thought were
important in the investigation and which statements were
incriminating based on his training and experience. The
jurors were free to determine the weight of these recordings
on their own. There was no error in Kent's testimony.
Finding no error in the admission of Kent's testimony,
this Court cannot find plain ...