A homicide defendant who told investigators he believed the victim and his mother were trying to kill him intends to assert an insanity defense, court records show.
On May 18, 2012, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater charged Ronald Vincent Sparks, of Edmond, with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Bernice Daugherty, 89. Prosecutors allege Sparks choked the victim and held her head under water in a bathtub, causing her death on May 12, 2012.
In court, Sparks entered a plea of not guilty. Assistant Public Defender Matthew Sears, his legal counsel, did not reply to a message seeking comment.
Earlier this month, the defendant appeared in court in person with Sears. The state presented its case in chief. Witnesses were sworn, testimony was heard and evidence was presented. The defendant’s motion to have the charge dismissed due to lack of evidence was overruled and probable cause was found.
On Aug. 14, the defendant is scheduled to appear for a pre-trial conference in the court of Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong.
At about 3:30 p.m. May 12, 2012, Edmond Police Detective Matt Terry was dispatched to 1000 E. Edwards in reference to a possible drowning, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Terry in Oklahoma County District Court.
Earlier that day, Sparks called 911 and said he had found the victim in a bathtub full of water, Terry stated. She was unresponsive and he was told to take her out of the bathtub and start CPR, the affidavit stated.
First responders detected a wound on the top of the victim’s left hand, and her clothes were soaked from the water in the bathtub, Terry stated. The victim was pronounced dead at 3:41 p.m., the affidavit stated.
After agreeing to voluntarily go to the police station, during an interview with Terry, the defendant purportedly said his mother and the victim, identified in the affidavit as his aunt, were planning on killing him and he thought they had put something in his morning coffee, the affidavit stated.