A Comanche County jury decided that Philip W. Tucker wasn't acting in self-defense when he fired 13 shots at a Lawton man who died after being struck by three of the bullets.
The jury deliberated for an hour and a half before convicting Tucker, 34, of first-degree manslaughter in the death of John Carder and recommended he be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Tucker's attorney argued that Carder had begun the fatal altercation by firing a shot at Tucker as he was mowing his lawn in the 1100 block of Southwest 45th Street on April 7, 2012. Tucker said he was acting in self-defense, but the prosecution said Tucker had used excessive deadly force and continued to fire at Carder as he fled.
The centerpiece of the prosecution's case was a recording of a lengthy interview of Tucker by Lawton Police Department detectives in which Tucker explained why he went into his home to retrieve a gun, fired 13 shots and then went back into the house for another magazine of ammunition. In it, Tucker said Carder had been harassing him for some time and threatened to kill him; he claimed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and said he believed he either had to kill Carder or Carder would kill him or his family.
Tucker told detectives John Schwenk and Charles Whittington that the problems began when he discovered, by examining his cell phone bill, that Carder who had been a friend of the ex-husband of Tucker's fiance had been calling and texting her repeatedly. They were "still kind of friends," Tucker said, and Carder said he was trying to kick his drug problem and wanted her to sponsor him in a recovery group.
Tucker said he called Carder and told him to quit calling and texting. Carder threatened to beat him up and kill him, Tucker told police. Tucker said he told Carder to get a job and a place of his own and suggested he lie down in the bathtub and slit his wrists.
On the morning of April 7, 2012, Tucker said, he was doing yard work when Carder approached him screaming. Carder said he had a gun and would shoot him, Tucker said, and Tucker threatened to call police and go into his house and retrieve his own gun.
Tucker said he called police, and an officer came by but was unable to locate Carder in the neighborhood. After that, Tucker said, he went back to work in the yard. Carder returned, he said, and he lifted his shirt and took out a small pistol. Carder aimed at him and fired, Tucker said, so he bolted into his house to get his 9mm pistol and tell his children to call 911. When he came out of the house, Tucker said, Carder was pointing the gun at him while moving down the street. Tucker said he was pushing a lawnmower with one hand and had a gun in the other hand.