Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 30, 2013

Witness: Cerda needed a man to ‘disappear’

TAHLEQUAH — Testimony began Monday in the preliminary hearing of a man accused of soliciting for the murder of his wife’s boyfriend.

Jesus “Jesse” Cerda, 38, of Tahlequah, appeared in front of Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins. After a day of testimony, the hearing was postponed to a later date.

Lewis G. Davis was the focus of testimony Monday. He told Assistant District Attorney Doug Dry that he and his wife needed a place to stay in early March, when Davis was released from the Cherokee County Detention Center. A man Davis knew only by first name, who had been released from jail about an hour before Davis, offered the couple a place to stay at a home on Allen Road.

While at the man’s house, Cerda showed up for a barbecue. Davis recognized Cerda as an inmate who had been housed in the same pod during a stay at CCDC in 2012. Davis said that was only the second time he had seen Cerda.

Cerda later gave Davis and Davis’ wife a ride to a local motel. Davis claims he and Cerda began talking about taxes, and Cerda – a tax professional – gave Davis $100 in exchange for Davis’ name, Social Security number and other information. Cerda allegedly said he could use Davis’ information to help some of his tax clients.

Several days later, Cerda called Davis and wanted to meet with him.

“[Cerda] approached me with a proposition,” Davis testified Monday. “He said that he had a problem.”

Davis said he felt as though he owed Cerda, because Cerda had given Davis $100. Cerda told Davis somebody was “messing with” his family, that he needed a man to “disappear,” and that he “wanted this man dead” as soon as possible.

Davis said he threw out a price tag – $10,000 – but eventually agreed to a $5,000 payment for the deed. Cerda allegedly went to his car and retrieved $2,500 cash, which he gave to Davis, and agreed to pay the other half after the job was complete.

“He wanted this man dealt with; he wanted this man taken care of,” Davis said. “He said money wasn’t an object.”

Days later, Cerda allegedly met with Davis again and gave him two guns.

Davis alleges he and Cerda met several times – almost daily – in the weeks that followed, with Cerda buying two cell phones for Davis and asking him to keep tabs on a home where Cerda’s wife and her so-called lover were staying in Tahlequah.

Cerda insisted he didn’t want his wife to be hurt, Davis testified.

“He kept pressing me about getting this job done, and I was dragging my feet,” Davis said.

According to Davis, Cerda eventually began to get “pushy” and “edgy,” and Davis started fearing for his own safety. In early April, Davis went to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and asked to speak with Investigator Casey Baker.

Davis then told investigators about Cerda’s alleged solicitation.

Cerda’s attorney, Rex Earl Starr, asked whether Davis is getting assistance with his pending criminal cases in exchange for testimony against Cerda; Davis said he didn’t expect anything.

“My wife convinced me [to tell authorities],” Davis said, because it “was the right thing to do.”

Davis told Starr he is “damn proud” that a man’s life was saved because he came forward with the information.

Starr asked Davis why he specifically sought Baker.

“I’d known him from previous encounters with law enforcement,” said Davis. “He was the only one I knew by name ... and I knew he was an honest cop; he was fair ... and was going to listen to what I had to say.”

Starr hammered Davis over the timeline of the events, and continually tried to get Davis to provide dates and locations of the alleged conversations with Cerda. But Davis testified he couldn’t remember them all by date.

Starr then asked whether Davis had any proof of the alleged meetings with Cerda, or any evidence of the cash, guns or cell phones that Cerda supposedly gave Davis.

Davis said he might have a receipt showing Cerda’s purchase of the two cell phones, but otherwise didn’t have any such evidence.

“The man’s asking me to commit a criminal act,” Davis said. “You want me to create a timeline?”

Davis told Starr he went where Cerda asked him to go, and they met at places like the Keetoowah Casino, Walmart, restaurants and convenience stores.

Davis testified he never had any intention of committing the murder, but was broke and needed the money Cerda provided.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Stocks