The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 21, 2012

Jury finds Muskogee man guilty in mall shooting

MUSKOGEE — Muskogee County’s top prosecutor said Dondray Fowler’s guilty verdict closed the book on one of the darkest days in Muskogee history.

District Attorney Larry Moore said Fowler received an appropriate show of justice for the fatal Arrowhead Mall shooting.

“We wanted acknowledgment that you are not going to take guns into our malls and walk out and not have anything happen,” Moore said. “This is what happens.”

Fowler, 21, was found guilty Friday of one count of first-degree murder and four counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon for the April 10, 2010 shooting.

Fowler’s defense attorneys declined comment but said they were planning to file an appeal within the 10-day window.

Fowler smiled and stroked his jaw as bailiff Debbie Whittaker read the jurors’ recommended sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

Formal sentencing for Fowler was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3.

A life sentence in Oklahoma is 45 years. Fowler’s first-degree murder conviction falls under the state’s 85 percent statute, so Fowler won’t be eligible for parole until at least 2051.

Fowler received recommended sentences of 30 years for each count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

Moore spent the better part of two weeks telling jurors Fowler shot 17-year-old Jarrod Reed intentionally, killing him and injuring Dorion Martin, Pico Reed, Walker Stewart, Madison Latta and Kandis Gross. The shooting took place as residents and visitors reveled in the Azalea Festival and Chili Cook-Off.

During Moore’s closing argument, he displayed mall surveillance images of the seconds before and after the shooting. The images were captured at intervals of just under two seconds.

A group can be seen gathering as the two groups threw gang signs at each other, Moore said. Suddenly, the assembled crowd begins to run, and in a matter of seconds, the picture is mostly clear of bystanders.

In one of the post-shooting images, a young black man in a long-sleeved white shirt can be seen heading west toward the mall’s bridge.

“There’s Jarrod Reed right there,” Moore said, pointing to the screen where an image of Reed, dressed in a long-sleeved white T-shirt, walked west after Fowler began firing.

In the next image, Reed was nowhere to be seen.

“Now, he’s out of the picture and very shortly will be out of this world,” Moore said. “This is the last picture of Jarrod Reed alive.”

Fowler, Moore said, was part of a group of four “southside” gang members in the mall that day. Their group was met by a group of “northsiders,” Moore said, near the Hibbett Sports entrance.

Fowler had faced five counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon for more than two years, but one of the assault counts was dismissed this week at the state’s request. That count was dismissed because Dorion Martin refused to testify.

The others injured in the attack testified during six days of testimony.

“On April 10, the defendant changed the lives of those four people that day,” Moore said during his closing argument.

Defense attorneys L. Wayne Woodyard and Peter Astor told jurors during the course of testimony Fowler shot a .40-caliber handgun inside the mall out of fear for his life.

Woodyard told jurors Moore and the DA’s office had “climbed into bed” with the northside gang.

“I submit to you these shootings would not have happened were it not for the conduct of the northsiders,” Woodyard said. “Unfortunately, they chose another course.”

Woodyard said two gunshots clearly demonstrated the fear Fowler felt when confronted that day.

One shot struck the base of a tree and ended up hitting a photo booth on the east end of the mall. Another bullet struck a ceiling tile inside Stage department store.

Woodyard said those were warning shots, a sign Fowler was afraid for his life.

Three days before the shooting, Fowler, who had been convicted of second-degree burglary in 2009, told his probation officer his house had been shot up and he had been taunted at different times by northsiders. Woodyard contended Fowler had reason to believe he would be seriously hurt at the mall that day.

But, Moore said, Fowler had told investigators he had “blanked out,” and come to with the gun in his hand. If that was true, Moore asked, how could Fowler have been cognizant enough to deliberately fire warning shots?

Woodyard and Astor referred to Fowler’s diminutive size multiple times during the trial — Fowler’s Oklahoma Department of Corrections information lists him as 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds.

Moore closed by saying: “I’m asking you to punish the little man with the big gun.”.

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