A Lawton man accused of armed threats against his neighbors called The Constitution to share his side of the incident that sent him to jail.
Since being charged Wednesday in Comanche County District Court with felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and feloniously pointing a firearm, Joe Matthew White said his life has changed drastically for the worse.
“I’m just trying to clear my name,” he said. “It’s taken away my life.”
White, 40, is accused of pointing a shotgun and pointing a laser sight at his neighbors when they returned home Monday from a trip out of state.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Court, police were called to a home in the 2300 block of Northwest Denver Avenue on the report of a disturbance. A woman told police that her group had just returned home, and her boyfriend had driven his truck with a trailer attached through a side yard when White came out of his home. She said he carried out a black shotgun, racked the pump and pointed it at the truck, the affidavit states.
White said this doesn’t tell the whole story. The side yard is his and his three and four year old children were outside. He said it’s an ongoing thing that’s developed over the years he’s been neighbors with the couple. Since the incident, he said it’s been suggested he move.
“I had literally just got home from work, maybe five minutes; I was still in my uniform,” he said. “The shotgun, I did rack that and I told him to stop.”
The woman’s boyfriend told police he saw a green laser light in his rearview mirror multiple times while driving and in the reflection. He said White was holding a handgun with a sight atop it. A neighbor also told police White had a pistol with a laser sight.
White said his pistol had been disassembled and was being cleaned by a friend inside his home. He admitted to grabbing the laser but said he used it as a way to divert attention from his girlfriend, who, by then had gotten into an argument with the other couple. That, he said, led to her being threatened. Again, he denied pointing a weapon at the couple.
“If you’re going to point a gun you better be ready to use it,” he said. “I did not point.”
White said the other couple beat him to calling for police. He said that he’d just locked up his guns when officers arrived. He said he told them where the weapons were and turned them over to the officers.
“They told me I can get them back when I have somewhere else to put them,” he said.
White claimed there have been several close calls with the neighbors driving through his yard while his children are out playing. Calls to the police have been fruitless, he claimed. This time, he’d felt like it was enough.
“I was defending my daughter, they almost hit her,” he said. “This was the closest call; I’m not going to lose my three year old from getting run over by a truck.”
Due to publicity from his arrest and charges, White said he’s been suspended from his job until his case is settled. A former corrections officer at Lawton Correctional Facility, a plan to return to work there has been “squashed,” he said.
White said that when he was in the Comanche County Detention Center, he’d been outed by law enforcement as a former guard at the prison.
“They put my life in danger,” he said.
The ability to move from the home elsewhere, while it’s been advised, has been a rough go. White said he was turned down for three different apartments on Friday. He doesn’t want to live in a shelter.
“This right here is hurting me,” he said. “I’m not a convicted felon; it’s still under investigation.”
White faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted for each count. Represented by Toni Himes Capra, of Lawton, he said he was going against her advice in contacting The Constitution. But he believes his truth will set him free.
“I have nothing to hide,” he said.