This week marks one year since a statewide manhunt for dangerous killer Michael Vance ended in a deadly shootout. On Wednesday, the three people accused of helping him have their next court appearance in Oklahoma County.
April Harden and Danny Roach admitted early on that they saw and helped Vance after he shot two police officers and killed two family members, and they told investigators that Reginald Moore also supplied Vance with an AK-47.
Wellston police chief Tim Estes remembers hearing the panicked call on Oct. 23, 2016, when Michael Vance opened fire on two of his officers.
“Kind of makes your heart sink,” he told News 9 two days later, “Our dispatch called me and that’s the first thing said, ‘Man, you need to get to that location.’”
Vance fled the scene, with a bullet wound of his own, shot a woman and stole her car. By the time police found the car in Luther, Vance had killed his family members Ron and Kay Wilkson, and stolen their car.
April Harden and Danny Roach told investigators Vance then showed up to their home, where they bandaged his wound and gave him another gun and more ammo. Then they called Reginald Moore to bring over an AK-47.
Vance disappeared for a week after that, but on the night of Oct. 30, 2016, Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander pulled him over in a stolen truck. Vance shot the sheriff twice.
“We’re trained to win,” Sander told News 9 a month after the encounter, “and I feel Vance, that night when he stuck his weapon out, his intention was to kill me. In that situation, I won.”
Not long after shooting Sander, state troopers found Vance driving the same truck down a rural road about ten miles away and engaged in what would be his final shootout.
In January, Trooper Trent Keasler told News 9, “He was wanting to kill all of us, but he just happened to find five guys who were willing to be just as violent as he was.”
Those involved say Michael Vance was the most violent suspect they had ever encountered, and those who helped him added fuel to his fire.
“For all of us to come out of that alive is a miracle in itself for sure,” said Trooper Brian Costanza when he was honored in March for shooting a rifle at Vance through his windshield.
April Harden has agreed to be a witness for the prosecution in hopes of receiving a lesser sentence.