Defense Attorney Explains Stillwater Bondsman’s Murder Acquittal
STILLWATER - For the first time, the public is seeing video from the moment a Stillwater bail bondsman shot and killed one of her clients in 2017.
Chasity Carey was just acquitted of murder last week, and her defense attorney explains why the video helped her walk free.
Jarrod Stevenson’s motto “Just because you did it, doesn’t mean they can prove it” is especially fitting in this case, because he said the state did not even charge the bondsman with the right crime.
“The jury was forced to make a decision between murder or nothing, and that responsibility lays on the state of Oklahoma,” said Stevenson.
Last August, Chasity Carey had called her client Brandon Williams to her office on the pretense of buying his car for her son. She was actually trying to revoke his bond and take him to jail. Her son Justin set up a GoPro camera in the corner of the room to record the arrest.
After some small talk, the video shows Carey closing the door and locking it before her son pulls out the handcuffs.
“What’s going on here?” Williams could be heard asking.
Carey claims Williams gave her a shove before trying to escape out the balcony window. She did not let him get far, pulling a gun from her desk drawer and shooting Williams, who could no longer be seen on camera.
“You shot me!” Williams exclaimed on the video.
Carey’s son added, “Mom, you just shot him.”
She responded, “I did.”
Stevenson said what we do not see in this video is just as important as what we do.
“When she reached for the gun to try to get him into submission, he reached for it as well,” he said. “She feared for her life, but more importantly the life of her son and she shot him.”
Stevenson said to convict Carey of murder would have required proving she had a "deliberate intent" to kill Williams.
In a statement, Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas said in part, “I stand by my decision to file Murder 1st degree in this case based upon the evidence presented to me…in this case the judge instructed on only the same charge the State filed in the beginning.”
Stevenson said the judge could have given the jury the option of convicting Carey on a manslaughter charge instead. “In fact,” he said, “the jurors indicated in post-deliberation comments that they initiated with us that they would have convicted in manslaughter in the first degree, but the state did not give them that option.”
Instead, Carey is happy to be reunited with her children and is now considering a career change.
The DA released the following statement:
District Attorneys across the State have the responsibility and ethical obligation to file charges based upon the evidence presented by an investigation and the law. I stand by my decision to file Murder 1st degree in this case based upon the evidence presented to me. A Manslaughter charge was not appropriate at the time of filing. After the evidence has been presented at a trial, the judge can instruct the jury on additional crimes if he or she believes the evidence supports consideration of another charge; in this case the judge instructed on only the same charge the State filed in the beginning.
District Attorneys should not, and my office does not, seek justice depending upon who a victim is or what their background may be. Upholding the rule of law requires that approach and my obligation extends to all the citizens of my district.
It is the jury’s job to determine what facts are or are not important to them and render a verdict. That is what they are selected to do. Although there are many flaws in the criminal justice system, we have the best in the world, and I would not want to be a part of any other. I am grateful for the service of each and every one of our jurors and do not and will not criticize their verdicts. As a prosecutor with 34 years of experience I understand the burdens and obligations placed on every participant in a criminal trial including my own staff, the defense, the judge and the jury. They are heavy burdens and, in my opinion, not one of them enters a courtroom with anything other than a desire to proceed correctly, fairly and zealously and with a deep respect for each other. We respect all those duties and positions and the outcome whatever it might be. I am proud of my staff and the excellent investigators at the Stillwater Police Department for their dedicated efforts in bringing this case to trial.