All Suspects Charged As Adults In Connection With OU Student's Homicide

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 6:25 pm
By: News 9

On Tuesday afternoon, four males went before a Cleveland County judge to be formally arraigned on first-degree murder charges.

Two of them, Cody Turbeville and James Arion Smith, are 17 years old. Armani Morgan is 19 and Tyrek Turner is 20.

All four are being tried as adults in connection with the death of 20-year-old Nathaniel Ewing, who died on his birthday, after being shot in a Norman parking lot the night before.

His family told News 9 he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, all because of his giving nature and desire to always help a friend.

Court records state Ewing had gone with a friend to meet two men in the parking lot of the Willow Brook apartment complex on April 23. 

The search warrant paperwork states the friend had arranged to buy some marijuana from Smith, but when they arrived to meet, they were ambushed.

Court records state one suspect held the friend in a choke hold while the other demanded money from Ewing and then shot him.

Prosecutors said Smith is the one accused of pulling the trigger, and that the other three were all in on the attempted robbery turned murder.

All four stood quietly as the judge told each and every one of them about the murder charge against them and about the state prosecutor's request to keep them behind bars. 

Their next court date is set for May 16, but they could be in court even sooner for a Brill hearing where a judge will determine if any bond will be granted.

State prosecutors state that is expected to be decided next week, but before that can happen, a public defender will have to be arranged for all four suspects.

Court records also reveal the gun used in the shooting hasn't been found, and that Turbeville was listed as a runaway earlier this year.

The Ewing family has established a memorial scholarship fund in his name, hoping that "something positive emerges from this senseless act of violence." 

They hope another OU student can follow in his dream of becoming a pilot.

A family member of Ewing released a statement after charges were filed against the four accused in the killing. Ewing's aunt Laura Fleet released the following statement:

Many lives have been forever changed by Nathan's tragic death. Our family is choosing to focus on the 20 precious years we had with him and not the last few minutes. We hope that something positive emerges from this senseless act of violence, which is why we created the Nathan Ewing Memorial Fund. Perhaps we can allow another OU student following in his footsteps to achieve their goal of becoming a pilot. We have complete trust and respect for our legal system and its ability to ensure justice is served and we also sincerely appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the Norman Police Department.

A GoFundMe account was set up to help raise money for Ewing's memorial