OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Not guilty pleas were entered on Monday on behalf of two suspects charged with murder and hate crimes in a shooting spree this month that killed three black people and wounded two others in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, who are white, said nothing during their brief video appearance in which Judge William Hiddle set a May 30 preliminary hearing. Prosecutors at that time will be expected to show probable cause why England and Watts should be held for trial.
Hiddle entered the not guilty plea on behalf of the two men, a court official said.
They are charged with three counts of murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious harassment, which allege the suspects selected their victims because of their race.
England said in an interview from jail on Saturday that he felt no hatred or ill will toward African Americans, according to a video of the interview posted online by Tulsa’s NewsOn6.com.
Shortly before the April 6 killings, England had lamented on his Facebook page that two years had passed since his father was killed by a black man, to whom he referred with a racial slur.
Those killed were identified as Dannaer Fields, Bobby Clark, and William Allen, who were all shot in the chest. The injured were Deon Tucker, who was wounded in the shoulder, and David Hall, who was wounded in the stomach.
Editing By Corrie MacLaggan and Eric Beech