Friday, February 14, 2014


My feeble attempt to share, mostly by pictures of the people involved, our experience of attending the murder trial of Darren Price.

How did Mickey and I come to get involved in this?  
The parents of one of the victims, Ethan Nichols, is the son of Scott and Teresa Nichols who attend our church.  Scott and Teresa had come over to visit us the evening of Saturday, January 25th.  The jury selection was taking place and Mickey and I offered to attend the trial with them for personal and pray support.  We didn't want them to be alone.  Teresa said they'd like for us to do that, after the jury selection was finished and the trial began. We were set to attend on Monday, February 3rd but the jury selection was not completed on Friday, January 31st, as hoped, so Teresa called and said it would be Tuesday the 4th.  They did actually end up starting mid-day on the 3rd so we missed that.

Mickey was able to attend all of the other 8 trial days, except Tuesday the 11th which was King's Kitchen.  I missed the 5th, due to a previously scheduled eye appointment and also the 11th, due to working at the voting poll at a special school position election.  Scott and Teresa, who only live a few blocks from us, picked us up each and every morning. Others were able to attend on various days:  Sean Westley, Gary and Shirley Smith, Gary Russell, and Dale and Dianne Russell from Coweta Assembly and the Pastors of Destiny Church, where the family attended at the time of the murders, Mike & Renae Goolsbay.  MANY others - their friends and family in Iowa and other at Coweta Assembly were praying.  

We meet the wonderful parents of Carrisa, Susan and Rod; Scott and Teresa's daughter Leeann and son-in-law Shawn (who we had previously met when they came to church),  and Teresa's sister, Laura.  Most days we had to be at the courthouse by 8:30 or 9:00 although one day it was noon.

On Monday, the 10th, the jury found Darren Price guilty on all 5 counts he was charged with:  2 robberies, 2 murders and alluding the police. 

On Tuesday, the 11th, additional information about 2 former convictions were presented and charges filed on them.  The jury's verdict was 15 years for alluding the police and 30 years for carrying a gun as a convicted felon.

On Tuesday, the 12th all 4 parents read their impact statements.  There were few dry eyes, and soft sobbing in that courtroom.  As one TV reporter said, "It was gut wrenching".  
The sentencing portion of the trial was finally given to the jury at 2:15 yesterday, February 13th and the verdict came down last night at 8:15 p.m.  The DA had asked for a verdict of Death for the death of Carrisa, and a verdict of Life Imprisonment without parole for the death of Ethan.  The final jury recommendation was Life without parole for both cases.

  Judge William J Musselman, who presided over this case in Court Room #501 set the date for final sentencing on March 27 at 9 a.m. 

Darren Price is the defendant in these murders and other charges.

Jerard Davis, the other defendant involved in these robberies and murders, had previously confessed and is currently serving a life sentence without parole. 

Carissa Horton, 18, and Ethan Nichols, 21
The victims of the double robbery, execution style murder on September 18, 2011.  Carissa was an ORU student from Iowa. 

Tulsa District Attorney Tim Harris

Assistant District Attorney Julie Doss 

I had never been in a court room in my entire long life.  Mickey has served on a jury about 10 years ago.  I was totally awed by the wonder of our fabulous judicial system.  Watching Attorney's Harris and Doss in action was absolutely amazing to me.  Not only were they superb in the courtroom with their presentations and cross  examining but they spent time, and shared lunch with us, both when we were awaiting the initial guilty verdicts on the 5 counts and when we were awaiting the sentencing on those verdicts last night.  They are both strong Christians and Tim Harris' time with us  was spent sharing  his views of the trial events and his strong Christian faith.  Tim's son, Luke, a recent OU student was also seated with our group in the court room and a pure joy.  The 2 assistants assigned to the family:  Heather and Lindsey were absolute jewels and made the experience so much easier on the family and all of us.

An aside:  Last night as the family were all giving interviews, Heather and Lindsey asked Mickey, "Will you be our grandfather?"

Neither of them had grandfathers and wanted to adopt him!!!  I told them they had to also take me as grandmother in the deal.

(Left to right) Teresa, Ethan's Mother and Susan, Carissa's Mother
Scott, Ethan's Dad
Rod, Carissa's Dad

I do not have a picture of Leeann, Ethan's sister, but she was the real star in the capture, her testimony in this trial, and her interaction with both the reporters and the jurors after the verdicts.

The final jury verdict last night, February 13th,  at 8:15 p.m - the jurors recommended 2 life sentences without parole, plus 45 years.  After the families spent time with reporters and the jury we arrived home at 10:30. Thank you Scott & Teresa for allowing us be with you during this most difficult time.     

The entire details and story of these murders, and all the evidence that came out in this trial, are amazing but they are Teresa and Scott's story to share with everyone.  I know they will and are anxious to do so.  

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Ginger said...

Just have had this so heavily on my heart since you told me of the case. What an unreal ordeal and what a great support you and Micky have been. I cannot even begin to fathom this entire story, which is someone life story and that just breaks my heart.

Just Mom said...

I covered a murder trial once when I was a full-time reporter. I was exhausted listening to all the evidence, and I had no immediate connection to anyone involved. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for you and for your friend.

Humble wife said...

I am so happy to know you online Susan. You are a true prayer warrior and friend. And to be one to love another is absolutely important in times like these so you and Mickey as adopted grandparents is something very special.

I was a juror on a murder trial a few years ago and it was my first time as a juror because until then every time I was called to be a juror Bill was the arresting officer on the case so I was excused. The trial was so much more than what one sees in the movies and it was interesting, intense, incredible, and extremely taxing knowing the importance of our job as jurors.

Susan, once again I am so thankful that Mickey and you are the people you are and that you set such a lovely example for us all.

country girl said...

Oh Susan I can not imagine such a loss for the families. My prayers go out to them. They were so blessed to have you & Mickey.

Mari said...

I was subpoenaed once to testify in a murder trial because the defendant was a patient when I worked in the hospital. I also had a cousin whose husband was murdered so we sat through some of that trial.
I know it meant a lot to the family that you and Mickey were there to support and pray with them. I'm so glad you had some good Christians around you in the court.
It's so sweet that you gained a few "granddaughters".

retha said...

It took me coming back here a few times, before I could write something. Because of many emotions, the most important one was forgiveness. I had to fist allow the LORD to work in my heart, to be able to look at truth.

What privileged to have you as chosen grandparent.