Posted: May 9, 2005 1:29 pm EST

Trial process begins in Oklahoma trooper shooting (~19 col. in.)
by Gaylord Shaw, The Duncan (Okla.) Banner
    Additional Information:

    By Gaylord Shaw
    CNHI News Service 

    LAWTON, Okla. — Tight security inside and outside a Comanche County courtroom Monday marked the start of the murder trial of a former Duncan firefighter accused of killing Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Nikky Green.
    The alleged murder, which occurred on a desolate country road the morning after Christmas 2003 was a tragedy that fueled a nationwide campaign to curb the use of methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous illegal drug.
    Ricky Ray Malone, 30, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Green, a six-year veteran of the patrol. Authorities say Green, 36, was shot in the head with his own gun after a violent struggle when the trooper tried to arrest Malone for operating a mobile meth-making laboratory.
    Jury selection was the first order of business in the trial, expected to last at least a week. Lawyers predicted the process might take two days as dozens of potential jurors packed the courtroom.
    District Judge Mark Smith moved the proceedings from Walters to Lawton earlier this year after District Attorney Robert Schulte and court-appointed defense attorney Don Gutteridge agreed on the change of venue.
    They jointly told the judge it would be difficult to seat an impartial jury in Cotton County.
    The slain trooper was known throughout the county. He grew up in the area, served as a deputy sheriff, then as undersheriff in Walters before joining the Highway Patrol. He also was a part-time youth minister at the First Baptist Church next door to his home in Devol, a community of about 150 people located 60 miles southwest of Duncan.
    Highway Patrol logs indicate a newspaper carrier knocked on the trooper’s front door before dawn on Dec. 26, 2003, to report a man was sprawled in the back seat of a car parked on a gravel road about a mile away.
    The trooper drove to the scene, about five miles north of the Red River, and reported to his dispatcher he was “10-26” (the code for performing a motorist assist) behind a ”white four-door vehicle.”
    That was the trooper's last radio dispatch. His patrol car’s video camera system recorded the sounds of a struggle and two gunshots, investigators reported. The struggle was not shown on the videotape, officers said, because it occurred beside or behind the patrol car.
    After the gunshots were recorded, investigators said, the video shows the image of a man in a black leather jacket getting into the white car and fleeing the scene.
    Malone was arrested three days later.
    Authorities said the license plate on the white car shown in the videotape was traced to a 1989 Geo Spectrum registered to Malone’s sister, Tammy Sturdevent of Lawton. She has been jailed as a material witness since shortly after Malone’s arrest.
    Until October 2003, Malone had been a full-time municipal firefighter assigned to the city’s Fire Station No. 3. He was fired by city officials a month after discovery in the fire station of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia which authorities said bore Malone’s fingerprints.
    Later in 2003, Malone was arrested on two occasions on drug and weapons charges. He had gotten out of the Stephens County jail on bond only four days before the trooper was killed.
    In the days before the start of Malone’s trial in Lawton, airport-style metal detectors were installed on the fourth floor of the Comanche County courthouse and all spectators were subjected to screening before entering the paneled courtroom.
    Among those attending the trial was the trooper’s widow, Linda Green, who is on leave from her job as a schoolteacher and has been traveling extensively to promote awareness of the menace posed by methamphetamine. She also has encouraged the enactment of new laws to restrict the availability of products containing pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in many over-the-counter medications for nasal congestion which is melted down and used in the manufacture of homemade meth.
    Oklahoma was the first state to adopt such a law.  Authorities say it has resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of meth labs seized in the state. Surveys show 29 other states now have enacted or are considering similar restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine.

    Gaylord Shaw writes for The Duncan (Okla.) Banner.

Send the story to you at this email address:

cnhi - Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. • 3500 Colonnade Parkway • Suite 600 • Birmingham, AL 35243 • (205) 298-7100
Content is copyright © 1999-2021 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.