5 inmates charged with murder in hostage-taking incident at Oklahoma County jail

Under Oklahoma law, a prosecutor can file murder charges when a death occurs during a kidnapping or riot


By Nolan Clay
The Oklahoman
        
OKLAHOMA CITY — Two inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in the hostage-taking incident at the Oklahoma County jail March 27.

Three more were charged with second-degree murder.

They are accused of causing the death of a fellow inmate, rape defendant Curtis Montrell Williams, by their actions after a detention officer was taken hostage.

Emergency responders can be seen outside the Oklahoma County Jail after a detention officer was taken hostage on March 27. The kidnapping and how it ended led to new and harsher criticism of the jail trust, which took over operations of the aging 13-story facility in July.
Emergency responders can be seen outside the Oklahoma County Jail after a detention officer was taken hostage on March 27. The kidnapping and how it ended led to new and harsher criticism of the jail trust, which took over operations of the aging 13-story facility in July. (YouTube/The Oklahoman)

The officer, Daniel Misquez, was held for about an hour after going to the jail's 10D Pod alone to pick up food trays.

Oklahoma City police shot Williams, 34, as he held a makeshift knife to the throat of the kneeling officer, according to a surveillance video recording of the incident. Police rescued Misquez after he rolled down stairs from the second level of the pod.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed the charge Monday. More charges are expected after further investigation.

Under Oklahoma law, a prosecutor can file a first-degree murder charge when a death occurs during the course of a kidnapping. A prosecutor can file a second-degree murder charge when a death occurs during rioting.

After the incident, activists and Williams' family blamed what happened on inhumane treatment of inmates at the jail.

"I knew Curtis for 34 years and I know for sure that he would not just go out and kidnap anyone," Williams' mother, Rhonda Lambert, said. "Conditions in the jail caused my son and so many others like him to lose self-control."

The kidnapping and how it ended led to new and harsher criticism of the jail trust, which took over operations of the aging 13-story facility in July.

Since then, the trust has repeatedly come under fire because of inmate deaths, escapes and other highly publicized incidents.

Charged with first-degree murder were Gregory Allen Jordan, 32, and Justin Taylor Leslie, 22.

A police detective identified them in court affidavits as two of the main leaders of the riot and hostage taking. Video evidence and statements by the victim and witnesses place them "as being directly involved in this incident," police detective Rocky Gregory reported.

Both are accused of using a makeshift knife to hold the handcuffed officer against his will.

Leslie also was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Leslie is accused of repeatedly stabbing the officer in the upper thigh while the officer was held defenseless on his stomach on top of a table.

Jordan, of Oklahoma City, is awaiting trial on charges that accuse him of robbing two women in 2019 and then soliciting their murder so they couldn't testify against him.

Leslie, of Noble, is awaiting trial on a 2019 first-degree murder case involving a drive-by shooting.

Charged with second-degree murder were Darius Brian Pleasant, 23, Marlon Brando Craft II, 43, and Charles Glen Johnson, 27.

Pleasant participated in the riot by using the officer's jail keys to open the cell doors and release inmates, the detective reported in an affidavit. He was then "involved in multiple physical altercations with other inmates."

Pleasant, of Oklahoma City, is awaiting trial on a 2020 murder case.

Craft placed liquid in front of two doors to the pod "causing a slick surface," the detective reported. "This disrupted the entry team coming into the Pod to stop the riot and rescue Misquez."

Craft, of Oklahoma City, is awaiting trial on a 2020 murder case.

Johnson used the officer's cellphone to livestream the officer being held hostage, the detective reported.

Johnson also suggested a list of demands and urged those inmates already freed from their cells to let him and others out, too.

At one point, he screamed, 'It's going down," the detective reported. Johnson also yelled they had nothing to lose.

Johnson also was involved in altercations with other inmates after getting out of his cell, the detective reported.

Johnson, of Oklahoma City, was transported to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in May to begin an eight-year prison sentence for robbery and other crimes.
    
(c)2021 The Oklahoman

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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