County man to face trial in Norman ‘road rage’ case — (Shawnee News-Star)

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Shawnee News-Star

By Tom Blakey, Norman Transcript

Nov 24, 2004

NORMAN — A Pottawatomie County man was bound over for trial on first-degree murder charges following his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Cleveland County District Court.David Tarrance Burton, 64, will be formally arraigned at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 14 before Chief District Judge Tom Lucas.

Burton is accused of the “road rage” shooting of Timothy James Moore, 44, during an alternation on SH 9 near the 24th Avenue Southeast on Feb. 25.

Several witnesses to the altercation testified during the morning and afternoon proceedings in the courtroom of Cleveland County Special Judge Rod Ring.

Doug Allen Greeson testified he was traveling east on SH 9 when he saw a minivan serve in front of him as traffic neared the stoplight at 24th Avenue Northeast. Moore is believed to have driven in front of Burton’s minivan where the eastbound lanes of SH 9 are reduced to one lane.

When traffic stopped at the light, Greeson said he watched as Burton exited his vehicle, and walked back to the driver’s window of the Cadillac.

“It looked like they were having words. The older man reached in and punched the guy in the car a couple of times. (Moore) couldn’t defend himself very well and put his arms up,” Greeson said.

Greeson said he observed Moore lean back into the passenger’s side of the Cadillac and kick Moore. He said he started to get out of his pickup to “break it up or see what was going on,” when he saw Moore fall back in the seat.

“The older man took a couple steps back and turned sideways and that’s when I saw the gun,” Greeson said.

Greeson said he called 911 as Burton returned to the minivan. He tried to follow the minivan, but it has disappeared from sight, Greeson said.

Another witness, Melissa Brooke Chapman, testified she “heard the gunshot and thought it was a car backfiring. I remember saying to myself I hope that wasn’t a gunshot. (Burton) turned and started walking back to his vehicle — I thought he was going to get help,” Chapman said.

Chapman said she walked up to the passenger side of the Cadillac and “saw blood in the victim’s stomach area. That’s when I realized he’d been shot and told 911.”

Moore died as the “result of the gunshot wound to the chest,” according to the state medical examiner’s report.

Earlier in the day, testimony revealed Burton has traveled to Norman for an appointment with Dr. Greg Shadid, a specialist in psychiatry. Shadid testified Burton had been previously diagnosed as a “major depressive with psychotic features.”

Testimony revealed Burton was taking Paxil, an anti-depressant to help with anxiety, and Risperdal, an anti-psychotic medication. According to his records, Burton twice previously had been hospitalized and was receiving medication from the Veterans Administration.

Burton was arrested at his home in Pottawatomie County near Shawnee, after Greeson relayed the tag number of Burton’s minivan in his phone call to 911.

A searched warrant was signed by a Pottawatomie County judge, and Norman police assisted Shawnee police in executing the warrant on Burton’s van and residence, both located on Walker Road.

Former Norman police detective and forensics specialist Bill May testified that an M-1 carbine, .12 gauge shotgun and three fully loaded .38 caliber pistols were recovered from the van, along with a “large number of other weapons” from Burton’s home.

Defense attorney Steven Parker demurred generally for a lack of evidence showing premeditation, and asked evidence be suppressed that originally came from Burton’s resident “because of the nature of Burton’s arrest.”

Parker argued that Burton should have been turned over to the Pottawatomie County authorities, instead of taken into custody by Norman police.

Assistant District Attorney Rick Sitzman argued there was clear evidence of premeditation and the search was conducted properly.

Ring declined to rule, saying “based on testimony heard today, the evidence is sufficient to show probable cause.”

Burton is being held in the Cleveland County Detention Center on $750,000 bond.