Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

July 2, 2014

State rests in Childs’ trial

ENID, Okla. — The state rested its case late Wednesday in the trial of an Enid strip club owner on charges of shooting at police.

Rick Andrew Childs, 46, is facing six counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in a July 7, 2013, incident on North Garland.

Assistant District Attorney Irene Asai called 15 witnesses Wednesday before resting the state’s case. All but three of the witnesses were law enforcement officers involved in the early morning incident nearly a year ago.

Enid Police Department Sgt. Nick John, who is acting case agent, testified as the state’s last witness.

John testified when he responded to a report of an abandoned motorcycle and heard a loud pop he initially thought it was fireworks. He said by the second sound he thought someone was shooting at officers at the scene.

“A shot, a ricochet, came over my head,” John testified. “It felt as though it was over the top. After the third shot went off, I felt every shot after that was coming my direction.”

Officers Jon Sullens, Sean Dyer, Cody Smith and Donald Sanders, who were at the scene July 7, 2013, each testified they were unsure the first “bang” or “loud pop” they heard was gunfire.

As more followed, the officers became less sure it was leftover fireworks from the holiday three days before.

Sullens testified by the second shot he had a pretty good idea they were being fired upon.

“At that point, it sounded very much like a gunshot, not a firework,” he testified.

The fifth and last shot fired was closer, Sullens said.

“The previous four I could just hear the report from the gunfire,” he said. “The fifth I could hear the report the bullet cut through the air.”

Detective Casey Von Schriltz, who was a patrolman at the time, was the one who found the Springfield Armory .45-caliber pistol on the Pheasant Run Golf Course belonging to Childs. Von Schriltz, using a metal detector, found the gun hidden in some tall grass.

“Was the firearm basically hidden in the tall grass?” Asai asked.

“Yes,” Von Schriltz answered.

He said it appeared to him someone had intentionally covered the gun with the grass.

Testimony also was heard from SWAT team members who conducted a search of the golf course, finding Childs face down on a fairway.

Childs’ attorney, David Henneke, asked those officers involved in the arrest to describe his client’s demeanor that morning.

“He was compliant to orders to a point, but he did not seem to be all there,” Officer Jacob McKinley testified.

Sgt. Tim Doyle said Childs appeared to be “looking past him” after his arrest.

“He didn’t appear drunk or high as most people do, but he didn’t seem normal, either,” Doyle said.

Officer Mike Evans transported Childs from the golf course to Integris Bass Baptist Health Center before taking Childs to jail.

Evans said Childs was not combative or talking or commenting to officers at the scene.

Henneke asked each of the officers involved in Childs’ arrest if they saw anyone strike Childs once he was in custody, or make comments or threats about Childs’ family.

Each of the officers questioned said they did not see or hear such conduct.

Two Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation experts testified Wednesday to evidence in the case.

Criminalist Murial Correa conducted analysis of a gunshot residue kit taken from Childs following his arrest.

Correa told the court each of the three swabs taken from Childs showed microscopic evidence of having fired a weapon, being around a weapon or handling an item with gunshot residue on it.

Firearms and tool marks examiner Terrance Higgs testified the two shell casings found on the Pheasant Run Golf Course were fired from the .45-caliber Springfield belonging to Childs.

Henneke called Elizabeth Childs as his first witness in the case.

Elizabeth testified her husband had taken two Ambien July 7, 2013.

She said he took the first at about 12:30 a.m. She said they had an argument and both left the house. When she returned the next morning, a second Ambien was gone.

Rick Childs originally was charged with six counts of shooting with intent to kill. He was bound over for trial Sept. 30, 2013, following a preliminary hearing on the lesser charges, when a judge upheld a partial demurrer made by Henneke.

Childs faces up to 10 years in prison or a year in county jail on each of the six counts.

The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. today.

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