The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 2, 2014

EPD officers testify in Childs’ ADW trial

ENID, Okla. — Two Enid Police Department officers testified Tuesday in the trial of an Enid strip club owner accused of shooting at police last year.

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

Childs is accused of shooting a firearm at Enid Police Department Sgt. Nick John and officers Donald Sanders, Robert Fleer, Jonathan Sullens, Kyle Pierce and Sean Dyer.

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 Childs’ attorney David Henneke.

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

Jury selection began at 9 a.m. Tuesday with prospective jurors being questioned by Assistant District Attorney Irene Asai and Henneke.

Questions ranged from the nature of relationships with potential witnesses in the case to beliefs about the justice and system and Second Amendment.

Asai asked jurors about their knowledge of the phrase, “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” She also asked another potential juror about his TV viewing habits concerning shows where the courtroom is the setting.

Henneke asked the potential jurors about gun ownership and their use or knowledge of the sleep-aid Ambien.

An eight-man, four-woman jury was seated by 2:10 p.m. Two female alternates also were selected.

District Judge Paul Woodward swore in all jurors before reading instructions on the trial

Asai read the charges filed against Childs before starting her opening statement.

She said about 4 a.m. on July 7. 2013, officers responded to a report of a motorcycle in the roadway in the 3000 block of North Garland. The motorcycle was in an upright position, she said, with the headlight on but the exhaust was cool to the touch.

The tag checked back to Childs, she said. Attempts to contact him at his residence were unsuccessful.

Asai said as officers fanned out into the nearby golf course, they heard a number of gunshots.

“They find the defendant in the golf course and placed him under arrest,” she said. “ He has an empty gun holster on his hip for a large caliber handgun.”

Asai said officers found two spent casings and a magazine. They then found a gun “tucked under the grass” in the area where Child was found.

Henneke told jurors they would hear from an expert who measured the golf course where the shots were fired nearly a year ago. He said the spot where his client was found is 50 feet short of a quarter of a mile where his motorcycle was found.

He said Childs took a generic Ambien the night of July 7, 2013, and doesn’t remember the incident.

“He is sorry for his conduct. He is very apologetic,” Henneke said. “He never intended to injure anyone. He never intended to assault anyone.”

Fleer was the first witness called Tuesday. He testified he was unsure he was being shot at because the incident was so near the Fourth of July holiday.

Fleer said he was in the area when a call reporting an abandoned motorcycle and a man in the ditch was broadcast to officers.

Fleer said he checked the ditches along Garland and did not find anything so he entered Pheasant Run Golf Club course.

“I heard a very loud bang to the north of me,” Fleer testified. “Officers started getting on the radio to be sure I was OK, because they were pretty sure it was a gunshot.”

Fleer said when officers located Childs in a pond on the course, he could tell from that vantage point the red and blue lights from police cars parked on Garland could have been seen by Childs. He also said Childs could have seen the light from the flashlight he was carrying.

Henneke asked Fleer if he ever saw any bright light, or muzzle flash, when the shots were fired. Fleer said he did not. When Henneke asked Fleer about being listed as a victim in the charges, Fleer was surprised.

“I wasn’t the one who prepared the affidavit,” the officer said.

Asai called Pierce, who testified he too thought the shots were fireworks. It wasn’t until the fifth shot was fired that Pierce thought the “loud popping” noises weren’t fireworks.

“I thought it was a gunshot because of the whizzing,” he said of the fifth shot. “I heard Sgt. (Nick) John advise to dispatch that they were being shot at.”

Henneke asked Pierce about the appearance of his client following his arrest the morning of July 7, 2013.

“He appeared tired, sluggish,” Pierce answered.

Henneke asked the officer if he heard any ricochet, or anything like it, along with the five shots that were fired. Pierce said he didn’t.

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

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