Jurors heard a day’s worth of testimony from a man accused of committing an August 2020 stabbing death. He claimed he acted in self-defense.
Claiming the death of Jose Matos, 42, was the result of an act of self-defense, Robert Michael Adair Jr. claimed he was out of his depth in the situation.
Adair didn’t dispute he’d stabbed the man twice in the chest with the 14-inch knife. It was a last resort borne from fear, he claimed to the jury.
“If I had done anything else, I would be dead,” he said.
Adair, 40, is on trial in Comanche County District Judge Gerald Neuwirth’s courtroom for a count of second-degree murder. He faces between 10 years to life in prison, if convicted.
In his video interview with Lawton Police Det. Abe Woelfel conducted the day after his arrest for the August 2020 killing of Matos, Adair said he was still in a daze from the incident.
“You ever wake up from a dream and it’s real but not real?” he asked the detective.
Later, he would testify to the Comanche County jury he didn’t really remember “even fully doing it.”
“It’s almost like you’re driving a car but you’re not driving it,” he said. “It’s kind of like being asleep at the wheel.”
Adair recounted the day’s events from his perspective. It was consistent with his testimony from the police interview. He said he’d awakened around 10 a.m., smoked some marijuana, took pills for his back injury and was beginning to clean his room at the Rodeway Inn, 3110 Cache Road, when he received a fateful call from his downstairs neighbor.
The caller was another long-term resident of the motel. Adair described her as a queen-pin of a criminal gang. He said she wanted him to get her drugs, food and cigarettes. In need of money to pay for his room, he responded in hopes of earning something.
Adair said he arrived to the woman’s room and an irate Matos was talking on the phone while sitting on the bed with a small, black revolver nearby. Another man and woman were also in the room. He described feeling vulnerable. He said his car had been stolen and he’d been robbed two days before. He said he had concerns the woman had something to do with it.
“I knew I was way in over my head,” he said.
Adair offered to get food on his food stamp card if someone would take him and the other man agreed. He said he ran up to his room, threw a couple of his knives in his backpack and returned in hopes of selling them before leaving on the task. The other man had a knife and he said he sharpened it for him.
Within the next 2 minutes, Adair said everything exploded. He claimed Matos was being aggressive and disrespectful to the one woman. When she said, ”Get him out; hit him,” he said he didn’t know who she was talking about.
Still on one knee after sharpening the man’s knife, Adair said Matos jumped off the bed and came at him, shoving him on the ground before backing towards the bed where he claimed the gun was. He, in turn, grabbed the large Smith & Wesson HRT kukri-style weapon with his right hand – he is left-handed.
Adair said after a warning he’d stab him, the two men went at each other and he said Matos impaled his left chest onto the blade while overtaking him and causing him to drop the knife. He said he got Matos away and out the door and then picked the knife back up with his left hand.
Matos charged the door trying to get back in when the second stab occurred, according to Adair. The 5-feet, 10-inch tall Adair said he punched the larger man in the chest with the knife’s blade. The fight continued until Matos dropped to the ground outside the door. Adair said a motel employee yelled at him and caused him to go into flight mode.
Adair grabbed his bloody knife and another, put them in his backpack and he pedaled off westbound on his mountain bike.
Art Mata, Adair’s defender asked him if Matos gave him any other option in ending the situation peacefully. He said there was no other option, it was a life-or-death moment.
Adair said he didn’t know Matos’ name at the time of the incident. He said he was only aware of him from seeing him at the motel.
Two plain clothes police officers attempted to stop Adair in the parking of a bank in the 4400 block of Cache Road and, he said he dropped the bike and the backpack and went into the center of the intersection before dropping to his knees to be taken into custody. He said his back injury is the reason he couldn’t fully comply with orders to get face-down on the ground with his hands behind his head. He has four fused vertebrae from a 2010 surgery.
One of the key components of Adair’s dueling testimonies was the role of the woman he claims is at the center of it all. She had testified he sold $100 worth of meth and did a rail of the drug in the room before the incident.
Adair said that was “a bold-faced lie,” and that he hadn’t smoked meth in the two days prior or that day. A toxicology report entered into evidence from a blood draw taken immediately after his arrest showed Adair had meth, marijuana and the pain pills in his system. He has a medical marijuana card and prescription for the pills.
During his police interview, Adair declined to identify some of the people involved and, while telling Woelfel he feared for his life, refused to be as detailed as Thursday’s later testimony.
Assistant District Attorney Jill Oliver asked why he didn’t initially tell the detective his claim of self-defense or his fears he was in danger by the gang he said the woman leads.
“I didn’t believe it would matter,” he said. “He didn’t ask; I answered the questions the man asked me.”
Adair said he’d asked to be held in protective custody in the City Jail out of fear the woman would have someone on the inside at the jail try to kill him. In his phone call to his mother recorded during the interview, he continually asked how the family was doing while not directly coming out and voicing his concerns. He also noted the position he was in.
“I’m in serious trouble, mom,” he said.
Protective custody has been the norm since he was charged. Adair said he’s spoken with people that are part of her alleged organization and believes he understands how things work.
“You learn a lot when you’re in jail,” he said. “There’s a million ways to get killed and (the woman) is one.”
The woman has not been charged in connection to this case. However, Adair intoned in excited testimony his belief she is behind a 2020 unsolved murder in Comanche County.
At the end of Adair’s time on the witness stand, around 3 p.m., the legal teams began discussing a potential other witness. In the end, no other witnesses are to be called.
Judge Neuwirth noted jury instructions needed to still be worked out between the legal teams and it would take time to work out the details. The judge will next read them to the eight woman and six men serving as jurors and alternates. Closing arguments will then follow before the jury debates the case’s conclusion.
“We can’t get all this done tonight,” he said before adjourning the proceeding for the day.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. and the case is expected to go to the jury before noon.
Written by Scott Rains: email@example.com.