Officer: Suspect Admitted Killing 3 in Cushing

Tuesday, May 19th 2009, 8:39 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- A police officer testified Monday that a Cushing man accused in the shooting deaths of three people admitted killing the victims and planning to torch the Cushing home where he left their bodies.

Cushing police Sgt. Mark Jobe was one of several witnesses who testified during the preliminary hearing for 21-year-old Robert Chad Lansford-Barela. Barela faces three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 17 slayings of Elizabeth Hueser, 19; Douglass Peck, 27; and Albert Sernas, 21. Cushing police found the three dead inside Peck's house in Cushing.

Payne County Special Judge Phillip Corley reserved ruling on whether Barela should be held for trial until June 24 to give attorneys time to file briefs on a jurisdictional issue, said Payne County District Attorney Rob Hudson.

"We feel that with the evidence we presented today ... we anticipate the judge will bind him over," Hudson said.

Hudson said prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

Jobe testified that when he interviewed Barela at the Stillwater Police Department, Barela told him he shot the three victims using a pistol that was at Peck's house.

Jobe said Barela told him he shot Peck because Peck had been working as an informant to the Cushing Police Department. Jobe said Barela called Peck "a snitch."

Jobe testified Barela said he shot Sernas because Barela believed Sernas told people an earlier shooting police had ruled an accident was actually intentional.

Jobe testified that Barela said he shot Hueser because she witnessed the other shootings.

Prosecutors contend Barela shot two of the victims to escape prosecution after shooting the first victim.

Jobe also testified that Barela poured solvent on the floor of the house where the three were slain and it was his intention to set the house on fire.