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Trial begins in case of babysitter shot to death while little girl slept

The trial for a Lawton man accused of shooting and killing a babysitter over a year ago started Wednesday, but only two witnesses testified before court recessed.

Stephone Carter, 22, sat alongside defense attorney Don Gutteridge alert and pensive throughout Wednesday's proceedings, which began with both Comanche County Assistant District Attorney Irma Newburn and Gutteridge arguing pre-trial motions behind a locked courtroom door. After an eight-woman and four-man jury was selected around 2:30 p.m., Newburn made a brief opening statement to jurors and outlined the charges against Carter, including conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery and second-degree murder related to the death of 27-year-old Tanya Zachary.

"Robbery, drugs, money and murder," Newburn said, stating the factors of the crime could be the makings of a Hollywood movie. 

As Newburn explained the evidence would show Carter and Emanuel Ward, charged separately, planned to rob the apartment owners of a marijuana and cash stash at gunpoint, Carter stroked his chin, unintentionally flashing a large "Piru" gang tattoo on his left hand. 

Zachary had allegedly been hired by William Martin and Chelsea Hayes to babysit Hayes' 5-year-old daughter while they went out with friends to a casino. Martin, according to Newburn, was a known drug dealer at the Sanders Heights Apartments, 2403 Jesse L. Davenport, which is why Ward and Carter planned the robbery.

Newburn said after they came in through the door, which was always kept locked, Carter allegedly held a gun on Zachary while Ward went for the loot. As the prosecutor detailed what happened inside, the defendant started nervously rocking in his chair.  

Zachary allegedly tried to arm herself with a pistol she knew Martin kept under a couch cushion, starting the struggle that left her shot in the torso. 

The Lawton Constitution

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