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The Daily Oklahoman
April 2, 1993
Author: Robert Medley; Norman Bureau
NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma honor student charged in the stabbing death of a Norman piano teacher recently quit school and had become increasingly depressed and interested in the occult, according to documents filed Thursday in Cleveland County District Court.
Brent Douglas Ullery, 19, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Nancy Neal, 43, at her home March 24.
The request for a recent police search of Ullery’s apartment and a list of items confiscated were filed in Cleveland County District Court on Thursday.
The search request states that Ullery’s roommate Warren Hsieh told police Ullery, “recently quit attending school, acted more depressed than normal and exhibited a change in behavior patterns including sleep patterns.”
Bottles of Prozac and paxil paroxehnehcl pills, commonly prescribed for depression, were found in Ullery’s apartment, Norman Police Detective Mike Isaac told The Oklahoman. Police also seized a prescription bottle of thioridazine, which is used to treat mental disorders, and a poster depicting a human eye with a skull in the pupil.
Ullery was arrested March 25 in Aurora, Colo., after a shoot-out with an Adams County Sheriff’s Department deputy. The next day, Norman police began searching his Norman apartment at 1421 Rebecca Lane, Unit 263. Ullery shared the apartment with Hsieh, documents state.
The search request signed by Issac states, “Mr. Ullery has exhibited in the past an interest in the supernatural or occult and books, writings and computer games relating thereto.”
Isaac said police still have more computer discs to examine that the OU physics major kept in his apartment.
“We are still knee-deep in items,” Isaac said.
Ullery, a graduate of the first class of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, remained Thursday in the Adams County, Colo., Jail on charges that include attempted murder of a law officer and aggravated robbery.
Ullery was arrested in Colorado with Neal’s car, which was missing from her Norman home. Police have said the only motive for Neal’s murder was robbery of the vehicle. Ullery confessed to Neal’s murder when he was arrested, authorities said.
Colorado officials found a knife believed used in Neal’s killing among Ullery’s belongings.
The search request in Cleveland County states that a local taxi driver picked up a white male near the Rebecca Lane Apartments on the morning of March 24 and delivered the man to Neal’s southeast Norman residence.
Records show Neal told friends she had an appointment with a man who wanted to see the car that day.
Meanwhile, Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Irby Taylor said work to extradite Ullery to Oklahoma started Thursday. He said an extradition hearing for Ullery has been scheduled for May 27 before an Adams County judge.
Ullery refused extradition during a formal sentencing in the Colorado court this week, Taylor said.
Taylor said Oklahoma officials have 90 days to complete the extradition paperwork that first goes to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office before requiring signature by Gov. David Walters and then being forwarded to Colorado Gov. Roy Romer for a signature. Section: NEWS Page: 1 Index Terms: MURDER SUSPECT Dateline: NORMAN Record Number: OKC1827471
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Ullery v. State— (Findlaw)
Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Brent Douglas ULLERY, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
Decided: October 07, 1999
Debbie Maddox, Robert G. Perrine, Capital Trials Division Indigent Defense System, Norman, Oklahoma, Attorneys For Defendant at Trial. Tim Kuykendall, District Attorney, R. Richard Sitzman, Assistant District Attorney, Norman, Oklahoma, Attorneys For The State at Trial. Lee Ann Peters, Indigent Defense System, Norman, Oklahoma, Attorney for Appellant on Appeal. W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, Jennifer B. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Attorneys For Appellee on Appeal.
¶ 1 Brent Douglas Ullery was tried by jury and convicted of Murder in the First Degree in violation of 21 O.S.1991, § 701.7, in the District Court of Cleveland County, Case No. CF-93-496. The jury found that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel. In accordance with the jury’s recommendation the Honorable William C. Hetherington, Jr. sentenced Ullery to death. Ullery appeals from this conviction and sentence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm Ullery’s conviction. However, we have determined the sentence must be modified to life without the possibility of parole.
¶ 2 On March 24, 1993, Ullery went to Nancy Neal’s Norman home to test drive her Mazda sports car, which she had advertised for sale. After they returned to the house, Ullery sprayed Mace in Neal’s face. She ran for the door, but Ullery grabbed her and dragged her into the kitchen. As she screamed, he threw her on the ground and began kicking her head. When she continued to scream and struggle, he stabbed her five times in the back of the neck. He wiped the knife blade off, disabled the kitchen telephone, took the car keys, and drove the car to his Norman apartment. There he picked up his packed belongings and left. Ullery spent the night near Stillwater and drove northwest. He was stopped in Colorado after committing an armed robbery and shooting at a police officer. He confessed to Colorado and Oklahoma officers. He was committed for several months and tried in Colorado before being returned to Oklahoma for trial on the murder charge.
¶ 3 Ullery admitted he stabbed Neal but raised an insanity defense. Evidence at trial showed he suffers from schizoaffective disorder, a brain disorder characterized by major depression and psychotic symptoms, including delusions and hallucinations. This disease manifested itself when Ullery was still in high school. A genius, Ullery attended the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. He concentrated in physics and was a brilliant student. His teachers and classmates agreed he had the potential for a remarkable academic future. Between Ullery’s junior and senior years of high school his best friend and roommate was killed in a car accident. In the months thereafter Ullery became visibly depressed. He complained to friends of hearing voices and began listening to music constantly in an effort to minimize those hallucinations. More than once friends saw him cut his arms. He told them he sometimes had to see blood and feel pain to know he was in reality. Although Ullery’s school performance dropped dramatically he was accepted at both MIT and CalTech. However, he was unable to afford either university and enrolled at OU for the fall 1992 term on full scholarship. His school and social performance continued to deteriorate. That autumn he began seeing a mental health counselor at Goddard Health Center. She arranged for the university to allow Ullery to move out of the dormitories and in January, 1993, he moved to an apartment. Ullery stopped attending classes in January or February of 1993. His girlfriend, a student in California, broke up with him. The Goddard staff diagnosed him as moving into a major depression and prescribed Prozac (which he took only briefly) [2 1/2 weeks, just prior to the murder according to his mother] Ullery spoke to friends about his fear that he could not control himself, mentioned his hallucinations, and continued to cut his arms.
¶ 4 On February 11, 1993, Ullery told his counselor that he might kill himself or someone else, confirmed that he had a plan but would not disclose it, and refused to sign a contract stating that he would not harm himself or others. Alarmed, the counselor made some efforts to have Ullery temporarily committed under an emergency order of detention, but these failed. A supervising director at Goddard told Ullery’s mother that he was a danger to himself or others and they could not treat him as an outpatient, and urged her to have him committed. She explored other treatment options. Ullery was alarmed at the thought that police might come to lock him up and determined to resist. He bought two shotguns and a knife, then went to a final counseling session where he confronted his counselor and said he was afraid the police would be after him. Thereafter he continued to deteriorate. He seldom slept, and his roommate did not see him between February and the time of the murder.
¶ 5 According to his own account and medical testimony, Ullery’s hallucinations included voices talking and a man appearing to him; all these apparitions told him bad things about himself and suggested he do bad things to others. His delusions included a belief that police would lock him up in a snake pit from which he would never emerge; that he was doomed if he stayed in Oklahoma, which was somehow responsible for his difficulties; that there was something sinister about and wrong with the red dirt in Oklahoma; that he had to escape; and that he had to die. He was unable to carry out any plans to kill himself, and decided to commit a crime that would force someone else to kill him or put him in a position where he had no choice but to commit suicide. He jotted notes apparently planning several types of robbery and wrote an apologetic document leaving his possessions to friends and family. He decided he had to steal a car and leave the state. Acting on this, he called Neal and arranged to see her car. He took the knife with him in case the Mace did not stop Neal from calling for help.