Testimony Begins In Trial Against Man Accused Of Shooting OK Deputy
OKLAHOMA CITY - A jury of four women and eight men have been sworn in, as the trial in the shooting with intent to kill and robbery case against Christopher Baker begins.
Baker is accused of shooting Major John Waldenville, an off-duty Oklahoma County Sheriff's deputy, who was working security at Cattleman's Steakhouse. He was taking a bank bag full of money to deposit at the nearby bank when he was rushed from behind, overtaken by two men, robbed of the bank bag and shot.
This happened back on May 21, 2011. Major Waldenville lost one of his eyes in the robbery, after he was shot in the face.
Both Christopher Baker and Keonte Prince are charged in this case. Prince previously testified at a preliminary hearing that he and Baker intended to rob Waldenville. Prince will not testify in this trial, but a transcript from his previous court appearance will be read at Baker's trial instead.
Tuesday, the courtroom was packed with several sheriff deputies, as well as Waldenville's daughter, his three sisters and other family friends. But Waldenville was not in court to face Baker, his accused attacker.
Prosecutors say Baker is the one who pulled the trigger. His defense attorney says the state has the wrong guy, though, and that Keonte Prince, Baker's accomplice, is to blame.
Prosecutors showed the jury surveillance video from that night that showed two men wearing black hoodies walk by the restaurant and then showed Major Waldenville as he walked out of the restaurant.
Tim Green, the manager at Cattlemen's testified how he saw a flash from the corner of his eye and wondered what it was, then saw two men wearing dark hoodies running north past one of his employees and heard a gunshot, possibly two. Two other employees also testified they saw the two men run past and then fire a gun at Waldenville while he was on his way to make the night deposit.
The jury was shown surveillance video from that night that showed two men wearing black hoodies walking by the restaurant. Several minutes later it shows Major John Waldenville walking out of Cattleman's with several patrons to accompany them safely to their car.
The second witness called Tuesday was Tyler Goodman, an employee at Cattleman's. Goodman said he remembers that night in May because it was a dramatic night. He said he recalls walking out of Cattleman's Restaurant after his shift, lighting a cigarette and seeing two men rush past him and then he saw a shot fired. He says Waldenville had walked out 20 seconds before him with the night deposit. He testified he saw one of the men raise his arm and heard gunshots. He then ran to see if Waldenville was okay. He said Waldenville was lying on the sidewalk with blood everywhere. Goodman said he called his girlfriend, who was a medical student, to see what he could do to help Waldenville until emergency crews could arrive. He said a fellow employee also was there helping until police got there.
One person who is also expected to testify is Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson, who was one of the first responders to the scene. She is expected to testify what she encountered when she arrived to find Waldenville shot. Lawson was also shot in the line of duty in 2010.