Harris goes on trial for first degree murder

May 10, 2022 | Courts

By SHARON ROWEN | © www.kaynewscow.com

NEWKIRK — Jerry Louis Harris, 68, Ponca City, went on trial Tuesday for the murder of his wife 55-year-old, Linda Kathleen Jones-Harris.

Harris is charged with first degree murder, deliberate intent, in the strangulation death of Jones-Harris on July 17, 2020.

During opening statements, Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson told the jury that evidence will show that the last thing Linda did was beg for her life and that Harris killed her and that it was not the first time he had been violent with her.

The first of three witnesses to take the stand Tuesday was Stacy Jordan.

Jordan told the court that Linda was like adopted family to her and that she moved in with Linda and Jerry about three weeks before the death.

She told the court that on July 15 she saw Jerry raise a fist to Linda but that he did not hit her. “He said something like “’If you want to tell people that I hit you. I’ll give you a reason.’”

Jordan told the court that she witnessed a lot arguing between the two and that Linda told her multiple times that she was scared of Jerry.

Prosecutors showed the court a lease signed by Jordan and Linda.

Jordan testified that she and Linda were scheduled to move into a residence in Stillwater.

Harris’ defense attorney Thomas Griesedieck, cross examined Jordan. He asked Jordan if she smoked pot with Linda and Jordan said yes.

Hermanson called Sean Tipton to the stand.

Tipton told the court that he went to the Harris home that day to help Linda move a freezer.

He testified that he arrived and Jerry answered the door and that the two stared at each other before Linda came to the door.

Tipton said Linda took him to the garage, showed him the freezer, and told him that Jerry had said he was going to jail today.

“She went back in and then I heard a boom,” said Tipton. “I tried to call her and text her but she didn’t answer so I called 911.”

Tipton said as he was waiting for an officer to arrive, Jerry opened the door and told him to leave.

“He told me unless I wanted to be an accessory to murder I better leave,” said Tipton. “I asked where Linda was and he said she was dead so I called 911 again.”

Hermanson asked Tipton to describe Harris’ demeanor.

Tipton said he was calm.

Tipton said he spoke to Linda nearly everyday the last few weeks of her life and that she said multiple times that she was afraid of Jerry and that if she came up missing he would be responsible.

Griesedieck asked Tipton about his criminal record and asked if he ever did drugs with Linda. He admitted to smoking pot with her and admitted to his criminal past which includes drugs and bail jumping. 

Griesedieck asked Tipton about a March court date in which a bondsman wanted to revoke his bond. Tipton was given an own recognizance bond instead.

Griesedieck asked Tipton about the OR bond that he received and asked if prosecutors told him they wanted him out of jail so that he could testify.

“Prosecutors told me that they wanted me to stay clean and out of trouble,” said Tipton.

Hermanson pointed out that the statements given by Tipton to police and the 911 calls were made before the March 2022 court date and did not have any effect on his testimony.

Ponca City police dispatcher Aleah Otto took the stand.

Otto testified that she was working with dispatcher Natalie Furber that day and answered the 911 call made by Jerry.

The tapes of the 911 calls were played for the court.

Jerry is heard telling dispatch that he killed his wife and was waiting peacefully for police. An officer arrived while Jerry was on the phone with dispatch. 

Listeners can hear Jerry stating, “Come in sir.”

Outside the presence of the jury, the defense made a motion to strike the entire jury calling the group not a true jury of peers. The jury consists of two women and the rest men, none are black. Judge David Bandy denied the motion. Testimony continues Wednesday.

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