The Woodward News

Local News

August 22, 2013

Jurors hear 4 witnesses on second day of trial

Woodward, Okla. — “A country ass whooping.”

That is how Jeffrey Shawn Spencer described the attack against 20-year-old Jon Michael Watkins on the night of Sept. 22, 2010.

Spencer took the stand Wednesday in the 2nd degree murder trial against David Lee Yelloweagle, who is accused of participating in the allegedly fatal attack on Watkins.

The prosecution is arguing that Watkins died from injuries he sustained from the attack, while Yelloweagle's defense attorney Peter Scimeca is arguing that Watkins survived the fight and only died after riding around in the back of a pickup that was driven through "rough terrain."


The prosecution called Spencer to testify because he was present for the attack on Watkins.  In fact, Spencer participated in the assault and was also charged in connection with Watkins' death.

However, Spencer pleaded no contest in Feb. 2012 to a lesser charge of manslaughter in the first degree as part of a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office.  

Spencer testified that while he accepted the DA's plea agreement, he only did so because he was afraid of being sent to jail for life.  And he said that he entered a no contest plea, as opposed to a guilty plea, to the charge of manslaughter in the first degree, "because I wasn't guilty."

In return for the reduced charge and a reduced sentence, in which he received 1 year in incarceration and a 14-year suspended sentence, Spencer agreed to testify on behalf of the state.

During his testimony, Spencer described the events of the day on Sept. 22, 2010 leading up to the assault on Watkins and his subsequent death.

Spencer said he, Watkins and Dillan Hager had been drinking throughout the day, and at one point, stopped at the liquor store to purchase bottles of whiskey and vodka, each approximately a half-gallon in size.

He said the drinking had started early when they were working on Watkins' truck at a friends house in the morning and continued as they went on to Hager's mother's house in the afternoon and "were shooting at trees and having a good time."

"Later in the day we went back to Troy's (a friend's) house and that's when the party started because we had alcohol," he said.

It was during this party that he said the defendant David Yelloweagle and 2 female friends, Arial Bozarth and Ashley Carriger, joined their group.

Eventually though the residents of the house they were at called the party to an end and asked them to leave.

"We had alcohol and still wanted to go on but everybody else wanted to pass out, so we decided we'd go make our own little party and go out on a dirt road," Spencer said.

So he, Hager, Yelloweagle, Bozarth and Carriger joined Watkins in his pickup and drove out near Hager's mother's home which is located approximately 7 miles south of Woodward on N/S 201.

They stopped on the road, climbed into the back of the pickup and "turned up the music, drank and just hung out," he said.

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