For the first time in four days of testimony, jurors heard the voice of alleged Arrowhead Mall shooter Dondray Fowler.
Fowler, charged with first-degree murder and five counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, didn’t take the stand. Tuesday, jurors listened to more than two hours of recorded interviews from the week following the April 10, 2010, Arrowhead Mall shooting.
Retired Muskogee police investigator Greg Martin took the stand as footage played from his 2010 interviews with Fowler. The first video was filmed April 12, 2010, with Fowler not yet arrested. The second video was filmed four days later, with Fowler in an orange prison jumpsuit, while Martin attempted to nail down Fowler’s part in the shooting.
Fowler’s interviews provided several key bits of information for jurors as the trial nears its final days:
• The shooting could have been worse. The .38 revolver found in the hours after the shooting under a Jeep Cherokee in the mall’s parking lot had been in Anton Nelson’s possession, according to Fowler, and was attempted to be used during the melee, though it misfired;
• Fowler originally pegged Michael Mayberry as the shooter. Mayberry was charged with first-degree murder before charges were dropped as investigators discovered Fowler was probably the person who pulled the trigger that killed Jarrod Reed, 17, and injured five others;
• Fowler told Martin he and Nelson, who was in the group at the mall, along with Mayberry, originally agreed to peg Mayberry as the shooter should they be arrested.
In the April 16 interview, Martin asked Fowler, at this point still clinging to his claim that he wasn’t the shooter, if Nelson had pulled out a gun.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure he did,” Fowler told Martin in the video. Fowler said he was “blanked out” during the shooting and didn’t know if Nelson had fired the weapon. Fowler said he came to, saw that he was pointing the weapon, and took off running.
Martin and another retired former investigator, Lonnie Bemo, testified the revolver was found under the Jeep with all five cartridges inside. One cartridge was dented in the middle, meaning it had been fired, Martin and Bemo testified, though the projectile left the gun. Martin called that cartridge a dud.
Fowler told Martin in the interview that Nelson later referred to the gun as a “raggedy .38.”
Nelson, charged as a youthful offender in the mall shooting, was charged with one count of accessory to first-degree murder and five counts of accessory to assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
Nelson was shot and killed Dec. 9, 2011, at 21st and Tennyson streets. No arrest has been made in his slaying.
During the April 12 interview, Fowler first told Martin he didn’t know who the shooter was. When Martin pressed him, saying he needed a name, Fowler first refused to name someone, saying he didn’t shoot a gun.
Fowler: “I didn’t shoot.”
Martin: “When Michael (Mayberry) was shooting.”
Fowler: “I’m not going to say he was shooting. I heard gunshots and got scared. I didn’t have a gun. A.T. (Anton Nelson) had a .38.”
Martin: “Was it you (who fired the .40-caliber handgun)?”
Fowler: No, it wasn’t. If I say it wasn’t me, and A.T. (Nelson) had the .38, why do I got to say a name?”
The only shells found at the mall were .40 caliber, so Fowler was implying Mayberry was the shooter.
Fowler told Martin that Nelson was the one who had the idea to name Mayberry as the shooter if they were caught. Mayberry, Fowler said in the interview, was already assumed by most people to be the shooter, and Mayberry had tried to shoot someone the day before near Cherokee Elementary School with the .40-caliber handgun.
“Everyone already thought Spook (Michael Mayberry) did it, anyway,” Fowler told Martin.
Reach Dylan Goforth at 918-684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.