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Second defendant ordered to face trial in shooting of prison officer

A 31-year-old man charged with pulling the trigger on a prison correctional officer will face trial on that charge and four others.

After preliminary hearings Thursday, Special District Judge Ken Harris ordered Michael E. Ishman bound over for trial on charges of shooting with intent to kill, conspiracy, and possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony. In a separate case he was ordered to stand trial on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.

Ishman also is accused of murdering Eric Dewayne Buckner on Oct. 30. The preliminary hearing for the murder case is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 11. He remains in the Comanche County Detention Center in lieu of $10 million bond.

Ishman was charged in December with the Sept. 28 shooting of Rachel DeWalt, a correctional officer at the Lawton Correctional Facility. William Andrew Givens and Jana Givens, a married couple, are also charged with felonies in connection with the correctional officer's shooting.

Six witnesses testified during Thursday's preliminary hearing, including DeWalt, the local prison officer who was shot; Dalton Whitby, DeWalt's neighbor; Brandon Truewell, William Givens' cousin; and Lawton police officers Robert Whittington, Ricky McCollister and Rachel Flores.

DeWalt told Assistant District Attorney Kyle Cabelka that at the time of the shooting she was a sergeant in the Security Threat Group in the prison and on four to six occasions she had caught inmate William Givens with contraband. DeWalt said she sometimes found him flushing "large amounts" of marijuana. Because he repeatedly violated prison rules, Givens was eventually sent to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, DeWalt said. 

Prior to the shooting, DeWalt did not know Michael Ishman  but the night before the shooting, DeWalt said she had an odd encounter with a man fitting Ishman's physical appearance. In recalling the night before the shooting, DeWalt said someone knocked on her door and asked for "Brian." DeWalt never opened the door but responded "no" to the stranger, who was dressed in dark clothing.

The next morning, DeWalt was cautious when she left her house because she thought the previous night's encounter with the stranger was "odd," she told Cabelka. Before getting into her vehicle to drive to work, she scanned the area and saw no one, but after she started her vehicle, she saw a man walk down the road directly toward her vehicle. DeWalt said she "felt something wasn't right" because the temperatures were already high, yet the man was dressed in all black.

DeWalt decided she would pull out of her driveway and drive the opposite direction away from the man, but as she turned her head to look for cars, the man ran toward her vehicle and shot at her "five or six times," she told Cabelka.

While crying and screaming, she put on her brakes, then got out of her vehicle and yelled "call the police" to anyone who could hear her, DeWalt said. When she started to feel faint, she realized she was shot, so she sat back in her vehicle and waited on police to arrive, she said. She later underwent surgery for two gunshot wounds.

Whitby, DeWalt's neighbor who did not know DeWalt at the time, told Cabelka and Harris that on the morning of Sept. 28 he heard five gunshots and someone yell "help me," so he ran outside, where he chased the man, who wore a black hoodie with a scarf covering his face, and yelled for him to stop  but the man outran Whitby. 

When Whitby returned to the scene of the shooting the police had already arrived, he said. Whittington, a lieutenant for the Lawton Police Department, told Cabelka that he photographed the path the man supposedly took when fleeing. Whittington said he found a "hoodie rolled-up" in a shrub, and inside the hoodie was a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber revolver. An inspection at the police station determined the gun had been fire about six times.

The evidence was sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and the swab results from the hoodie matched Ishman's DNA, according to Flores, a detective with the LPD. 

Brandon Truewell, 20, William Givens' cousin, was living at the Givens' apartment at the time of the shooting. He  testified he moved from Tulsa to Lawton so that he could obtain a license and a job, and William Givens told him that he could stay with his wife, Jana Givens, who would help him get on his feet.

The Lawton Constitution

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