Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty in Seminole Shoot-Out

Sunday, July 26th 2009, 5:59 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

SEMINOLE, Oklahoma -- Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against an Oklahoma man charged with first degree murder for the shooting deaths of two Seminole County deputies.

Ezekiel Holbert, 26, was charged Monday for the shooting deaths of deputies Robbie Chase Whitebird and Marvin Williams.

Seminole Shoot-Out
The deputies were trying to arrest Holbert for failing to make a court appearance after Holbert was released on bond in a domestic violence case in February. Holbert was wanted for allegedly trying to strangle his mother.

When the deputies went to the door to serve the warrant, Holbert opened fire, said Jessica Brown, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.

Deputy Robbie Chase Whitebird, 23, was shot inside the home. Deputy Marvin Williams, 43, was shot in the back as he was leaving the house.

Deputy Whitebird died at the scene. He had worked for the sheriff's office since April of 2008.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office honors fallen members of the department.

Deputy Williams was flown to OU Medical in Oklahoma City but died in transport. He had worked for the department since 2002.

Jennifer Bowen, 22, who was walking outside near the home, was also hit by gunfire in the arm. She was transported to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where she remains. A fund for Bowen's medical expenses has been set up at the First United Bank of Seminole.

Police were able to use a tactical team robot to enter the home, using a PA system to announce their presence and asked Holbert to surrender. A few minutes later, Holbert surrendered to authorities without incident.

Several agencies including local police officers, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office investigated the scene. Officers evacuated the area and asked local businesses to shut down while they were searching for Holbert before his arrest.

In the domestic abuse case, Holbert's mother told police he tried to strangle her after he was inhaling paint thinner, court records show. According to an affidavit, "Ms. Holbert and her kids are in fear of Ezekiel's explosive behavior."

Holbert was found at his mother's house, and she was the one who called police because he was not welcome there. Holbert's mother told authorities that she and her other children were afraid of him, court records show.

Two years ago, his sister said in a filing for a protective order that she feared he would kill somebody.

Holbert is being held in the Pottawatomie County Jail. Seminole County District Attorney Chris Ross said they chose not to place Holbert in the Seminole County jail because they were worried about other inmates and law enforcement being tempted to do something to Holbert.

No attorney appeared with Holbert and District Attorney Chris Ross said he had not yet requested a court-appointed lawyer. When Holbert appeared in court Monday, his behavior was very erratic, including grinning, making strange noises and laughing out loud when he heard he was facing the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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