Murder trial begins in shooting death case
Testimony began Tuesday in Comanche County District Court in the murder trial of a 32-year-old Tulsa man charged in the 2016 death of a 25-year-old man at a Lawton apartment complex.
Michael Ishman is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the Oct. 30, 2016, shooting death of Eric Dewayne Buckner in his unit at Pear Tree Landing Apartments, 2006 NW Taft. Buckner suffered gunshot wounds to his body and police found four 9-millimeter shell casings at the scene. He was taken to Comanche County Memorial Hospital where he later died.
In the state's opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Kyle Cabelka told the jury that Buckner was shot by Ishman during a robbery. Cabelka said several separate stories brought together about the crime would implicate Ishman.
Cabelka said four guns were found on Ishman following his arrest near Tulsa a few days later - and that one of those guns was used to kill Buckner.
Defense attorney Lawrence Corrales, who is representing Ishman, reserved the defense's opening statement.
Man who accompanied Ishman to Lawton felt threatened
Brandon Truewell was the state's first witness in the trial. He confirmed that he knew Ishman for two years and also knew Buckner from his time living in the same apartment complex. Truewell said on Oct. 29, 2016, he came from Tulsa to Lawton with Ishman and Ishman's ex-girlfriend, Dimarie Castaneda, after being threatened at gunpoint by Ishman at a Tulsa convenience store. Truewell testified that Ishman's purpose in coming to Lawton was to collect items belonging to a cousin named William. He said after arriving at the apartment complex in Lawton, Ishman kicked in the door of a unit as, he did not have a key. He said Ishman retrieved various items and went to two Cadillac vehicles parked at the complex which he did not have keys to.
The next day, Truewell said Ishman and his brother went to have keys made for one of the two Cadillacs, with his brother leaving the dealership in that vehicle. Later that day, Truewell confirmed that he, Ishman and Castaneda, went to the Apache Casino on East Gore Boulevard. Upon arrival there, Truewell was given $20 by Ishman for gaming, but he broke away from Ishman and Castaneda to meet with a casino security officer to report that he had been threatened. He said casino security moved him to an area near the casino hotel's pool until Lawton police arrived to take him to Central Mall as a "safe place" after which he walked to the Lawton Police Department to contact his mother in Tulsa, who then reserved him a room at a local hotel. Truewell said that the next morning, he left Lawton and returned to Tulsa by bus. Truewell said that during the time he was with Ishman, he saw Ishman in possession of a gun and also admitted that he himself had been in possession of a small handgun as a "self defense" measure in the event he was attacked by Ishman or others.
Ex-girlfriend testifies for state as part of plea deal
Castaneda was the state's next witness. She is charged with robbery with a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder in connection with the case and has been incarcerated in the Comanche County Detention Center since last May after being extradited from Los Angeles County, Calif., where she was arrested in April. She is testifying as part of a plea deal.
Castaneda said that on Oct. 29, 2016, she, Ishman and Truewell drove from Tulsa to Lawton. She said she thought they were going to Texas, but ended up in Lawton. After arriving in Lawton, Castaneda said they stayed at an apartment in the complex that night. She said the next day, Oct. 30, she and Ishman argued after she said she wanted to return to Tulsa - then Ishman physically assaulted her. She said she then left the apartment and walked to a nearby convenience store, where Ishman found her and drove her back to the apartment. She said later that day, she went with Ishman and Truewell to the Apache Casino, where she said she played some games and where Truewell went his own way, which angered ing Ishman and led them to drive around the parking lot of the casino before returning to the apartment.