First-degree murder charge filed in shooting death

Alverey Braxton

Investigators used forensic tools to charge a McAlester man with first-degree murder following a Monday night shooting death of a woman.

Alverey Terrell Braxton, 24, of McAlester, was charged Wednesday with felony murder in the first degree, felony possession of firearms after conviction, and felony committing a felony with a firearm with defaced ID number, according to documents filed by the Office of District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan.

According to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Pittsburg County Sheriff Deputy Det. Randy Hass, the deputy responded Monday evening to the McAlester Regional Health Center for a report of a gunshot victim.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris identified the woman as 39-year-old Amanda Parham-Lee, of McAlester, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Braxton was being held Wednesday in the Pittsburg County Jail on $1,000,000 bond after being charged in the death.

When asked about the difference in bonds given to Braxton and 55-year-old Brenda Savage — who was charged Jan. 30 with first-degree murder and faced a bond of $100,000 — District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan said it was the result of miscommunication.

“It was an unfortunate miscommunication that I’ve corrected internally with my assistants,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said his position on a first-degree murder case is that the accused should have no bond.

“But that’s not an argument that I generally win and in lieu of that, I want to request a million dollars for a bond on a charge of this nature," Sullivan said.

District 18 First Assistant DA Adam Scharn said he argued during Savage’s initial appearance that under certain circumstances, someone accused of first-degree murder is to be held without bond.

“One hundred thousand dollars in hindsight was too low and I should have asked for a higher minimum,” Scharn said.

Hass wrote in the affidavit that after reading Braxton his Miranda warning, he was told by Braxton the two were driving around in Parham’s vehicle and were in an argument.

Braxton told Hass there was a .308-caliber deer rifle in the vehicle and that Parham has moved the rile from the front seat to the back seat of the car and the rifle accidentally went off and struck the woman in the chest and that he never touched the rifle, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, the vehicle was taken to the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office for processing Tuesday where Hass and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent John Graham processed the vehicle.

Hass wrote in his report the two used several forensic tools, including trajectory sticks and found a fired .308 round located in the passenger floorboard close to the door.

Two bullet holes were also located in the B-pillar of the vehicle’s frame and the passenger seat and with further analysis, Hass concluded that the bullet holes, when compared with Parham’s entry and exit wounds, “established a trajectory pattern that was not consistent with Braxton’s version of events, the affidavit states.

During a second interview with Hass, Braxton said the two were in an argument before Parham went to move the gun, the report states. The affidavit states Braxton told Hass that he put his hand up and told her not to touch and after it went off, he grabbed the gun and threw it in the backseat.

Hass wrote in the report that Braxton admitted that he was the one that placed the rifle and a pistol in the vehicle and that he knew he was a convicted felon and was not supposed to have any firearms in his possession.

The rifle was measured by Hass to be “over 28 inches” from the trigger to the end of the barrel and the medical examiner measured Parham’s arm – from the outside of her shoulder to her fingertips – which measured 27.36 inches and suggested that the woman’s arm was not long enough to reach the trigger, the affidavit states.

Investigators attempted to recreate Braxton’s original scenario and concluded that the rifle would not fit in the vehicle and fire a bullet at the alleged trajectory, the report states.

“Based on the length of the rifle, the exit wound in Parham’s chest, the downward angle indicated by the exit wound, the hole in the B-pillar, and the hole in the seat, I concluded that Braxton’s claim that she shot herself could not have been what happened,” Hass wrote in the affidavit.

Hass continued to write in his report that the evidence suggests that Braxton had an argument with Parham and reacted by shooting her in the chest with a .308 rifle.

During the investigation, the rifle was found by Hass to have had the serial number “obliterated,” the affidavit states.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com