The Woodward News

Local News

August 1, 2013

Murder trial still on track for Aug. 20



In addition to the pre-trial hearing in the murder case against him, Yelloweagle also appeared in court Wednesday for arraignment in a second case related to Watkins' death.

In September 2012, Yelloweagle was charged with a felony count of encouraging a minor to commit or participate in manslaughter in the first degree.  This charge alleges that Yelloweagle encouraged and/or failed to stop the then 17-year-old Spencer from participating in the attack on Watkins.

Spencer pled guilty to first degree manslaughter in connection with the case in Feb. 2012.  He received a 15-year sentence, but only served 1 year in the Woodward County Jail and is currently serving the remaining 14-year suspended sentence.

Yelloweagle was bound over for a second trial in that case in March 2013.

His arraignment hearing Wednesday was held for the purposes of entering a plea with regards to the charge of encouraging a minor to commit manslaughter.

But Yelloweagle stood mute Wednesday and Judge Linder had to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Scimeca said his client reserves the right to "seek a motion to challenge the sufficiency of the bind over" in the second case.  The attorney doesn't believe that sufficient evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing in March to justify the case proceeding.

Nevertheless, the judge went ahead and reserved 3 days in November for a potential trial date in the case, should the defendant's challenge fail.

Linder said that Yelloweagle had the option to combine both cases and have them tried together.

However, Scimeca said that Yelloweagle "is insisting on 2 separate trials."

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