Oakes admits to shooting, claims it accidental

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WINTON – During testimony Tuesday morning at the capital murder trial of Eric Oakes, SBI Agent Wendy White told the jury of the interview with Oakes following his arrest in April 2003 for the shooting death of Tyrelle Overton.

&uot;His demeanor was somber, he seemed as if he didn’t care.

He just wanted to know what was going to happen to him.

He didn’t start crying until the end when I told him he had shot the wrong person,&uot; White testified.

According to his statements to White during that interview, Oakes and his co-defendant Joseph &uot;Joey&uot; Forehand were close friends and roommates at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, where both were stationed at the time of the shooting.

Oakes had accompanied Forehand to his hometown of Colerain to visit with him approximately four times total.

Oakes apparently told investigators that on July 6, 2002, a week before the shooting, he sat at a table at Chubbie’s in Ahoskie while Forehand went outside with three black males.

Forehand returned a short time later, saying that he had been robbed, and went around the establishment asking people for a gun.

Oakes also reportedly told investigators at that time that he never got in the car (outside Chubbie’s) and that he did not know the black males involved.

White testified that Oakes stated Forehand was angry about being &uot;ripped off&uot; and talked about going back to get the money.

Later, the twosome returned to Ft. Bragg and talked about what had happened and about returning to Ahoskie to get their money back.

That week, they went to a friend’s house to purchase a gun for $50, with Oakes contributing $20 toward the weapon.

&uot;Oakes said that it was Forehand’s idea to get the gun and that he was just along to help Joey,&uot; White stated.

The following weekend, the two apparently returned to Colerain on Friday night and then woke up Saturday morning intending to find the man who had robbed Forehand.

&uot;They went into (Ahoskie) Wal-Mart to look and five minutes later Joey said he had seen one of the black males who robbed him and it was the one who had put a gun to his head,&uot; White testified.

She continued, &uot;They then waited for him to come out.

Oakes said he didn’t see him and wouldn’t have recognized him anyway because he didn’t get a good look before.&uot;

According to White’s testimony, the two then saw the man in question drop his family off and then proceeded to follow him around Ahoskie, with Forehand at the wheel.

Reading from the interview sheet, White continued, &uot;Oakes said, quote, at the stoplight I told Joey I was getting out and then I did and I got in the (Overton) van.&uot;

Oakes reportedly hid the gun in his right hand, partly under a black sleeve, walked up to the van and told the driver to open the door.

&uot;(Oakes said) the black male said it’s open and he (Oakes) got in, told the black male to follow Joey who was behind the van, but the black male said he had to pull over.

Oakes said he told him not to, but he said he had to call his mother,&uot; White testified.

Then, according to the interview report, the black male pulled into the parking area and grabbed for Oakes’ gun.

&uot;Oakes said, quote, we were struggling and it (the gun) went off.

He tried to grab for it again and I shot him again.

Then the black male got out of the van and started running and then I ran to Joey’s car,&uot; White stated.

After that, Oakes and Forehand reportedly went back to Forehand’s house in Colerain and listened to the police scanner, waiting four hours until dark.

Oakes then drove Forehand’s car back to Ft. Bragg.

Later, White testified that Oakes had further stated, &uot;I’m not a murderer; I didn’t mean to kill him and I’m sorry.&uot;

However, her interpretation of Oakes’ attitude was different.

&uot;To me, he was not sorry and he did not cry until the end of the interview.

He thought he had shot one of the guys who had robbed him the weekend before at Chubbie’s,&uot; she stated.

District 6B Attorney Valerie Asbell inquired, &uot;He wasn’t crying before that?&uot;

White replied, &uot;No, when I said it was just a guy home from college for the summer, the color drained out of his face and he put his head in his hands, laid it down and started crying.&uot;

On cross-examination, defense attorney David Sutton asked White how she knew Overton wasn’t one of the three black males in the car the night Forehand was robbed.

&uot;(Travis) Britt said it happened and who was in the car, and he (Overton) wasn’t one of them,&uot; White answered.

She added, &uot;Elton Taylor had also stated that they (he and Overton) had never been to Chubbie’s.&uot;