Man bound-over for trial in fatal shooting

DERRICK JAMES | Staff photoJonathan Tubbs, left, leaves District 18 Special District Judge Brian McLauhglin's courtroom Thursday after being bound over for trial in the February shooting death of 37-year-old Catrina Pope. 

A McAlester man who claims he “didn’t mean” to fatally shoot his wife in February was bound over for trial Thursday.

Jonathan James Tubbs, 39, is being held in the Pittsburg County Jail on a $1 million bond after being charged in February with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 37-year-old Catrina Pope.

District 18 Special District Judge Brian McLaughlin bound Tubbs over for trial after hearing testimony from two police officers and hearing the 911 call the man made after the shooting.

McAlester Police Officer Colby Barnett said he arrived at the residence on the 500 block of West Taylor and saw Tubbs on the porch “in his underwear” before detaining Tubbs.

Barnett said Tubbs kept repeating that “he didn’t mean to shoot his wife” while being transported to the Pittsburg County Jail.

The officer said Tubbs “appeared to be intoxicated” and after he read Tubbs his Miranda warning at the jail, the man admitted during a 30-minute interview at the jail to drinking a fifth of vodka before the shooting.

McAlester Police Detective Lt. Preston Rodgers said he interviewed Tubbs the next day and that Tubbs said Pope “lunged” at him before he shot the woman.

District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Adam Scharn asked Rodgers how a person would fall if they were shot while lunging towards somebody.

Rodgers said the person would “follow the motion” and fall onto their stomach.

According to Rodgers, Pope was found lying on her back by investigators at the scene.

Tubbs’ defense attorney, Wes Cherry, said to Rodgers that it was “certainly not impossible” for somebody lunging toward somebody to land on their back, in which Rodgers agreed.

Cherry then asked Rodgers if he could duplicate the motion Pope was in before her death.

Rodgers said that he could not because he wasn’t there.

When asked by Cherry if there was any evidence that Tubbs meant to shoot Pope or had a plan to shoot the woman, Rodgers said “he didn’t have an answer.”

“Is there any evidence to refute Tubbs’ assertion of self-defense?” asked Cherry.

“He told me he didn’t meant to shoot her,” Rodgers said. “He pulled the gun up and he took the shot while she was lunging.”

After hearing testimony from the two officers, prosecutors then played the 911 call.

On the call, Tubbs tells the dispatcher that “she jumped towards me and I shot her in the face.”

When asked to put the gun away before officers arrive, Tubbs is heard saying “I’m not going to randomly shoot somebody” and that he wasn’t going to touch the gun.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Tubbs said in the call before he is heard telling officers he was on the phone with their dispatchers before the call ended.

A motion for demurrer made by Cherry was denied before McLaughlin bound Tubbs over for trial.

“The state has met their burden,” McLaughlin said.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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