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Tulsa Suspects Charged With Murder, Hate Crimes

Victims targeted because they were black, say prosecutors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2012 6:37 PM CDT
Tulsa Suspects Charged With Murder, Hate Crimes
Tulsa police images of Jake England, left, and Alvin Watts.   (AP Photo/Tulsa Police Department via Tulsa World, File)

(Newser) – Two men accused of going on a shooting spree that terrorized the predominantly black north side of Tulsa face murder and hate crime charges. Jake England, 19, and his roommate, Alvin Watts, 33, each were charged today with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill, and five counts of malicious harassment. The harassment counts allege the victims were targeted because of their race.

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"I think that it's an embrace, a symbolic embrace of the serious nature of the crime," said Democratic State Representative Seneca Scott, who attended a meeting today with area ministers and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. "Sad as it is, it's a real victory for justice." Police say England and Watts, arrested Sunday after a two-day manhunt, have confessed and appeared to have chosen five victims at random. Three died and two others were wounded. All the victims were black, and police have said one motive might have been England's desire to avenge his father's fatal shooting by a black man two years ago. (Read more Tulsa stories.)

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