Sentence Phase Begins in David Ware Trial; DA Seeks Death Penalty

KTUL-News 8 - April 25, 2022 6:22 am

David Anthony Ware

The sentencing phase begins in the David Ware trial Monday. The jury reached a guilty verdict after careful consideration on Friday. Ware was found guilty on all five counts, including the death of Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson, and shooting with intent to kill or severely wounding Officer Aurash Zarkeshan during a late-night traffic stop on June 29, 2020.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler been clear about his is seeking the death penalty.

“My experience is the jurors take it very seriously when they are asked to do this,” said longtime lawyer James C. Linger when asked about the sentencing phase for death penalty cases.

Linger said this phase of a death penalty trial usually involves a determination of the severity of the crime, more testimony, plus background on both the victims and the defendant.

“The defense will give us an idea of whether he’s [Ware is] showing remorse, sorrow, and regret for what he’s done,” Linger said. “Also, what’s his background? Did he have an unfortunate childhood has he had problems with drugs? Things that, for some people, might excuse his behavior so as not to impose the death penalty.”

Ware’s mother is expected to take the stand Monday on her son’s behalf, but it’s hard to predict if that will sway the jury. Linger said as a seasoned defense lawyer, he’d be concerned about the jury, consisting of nine men and three women.

“Most of our juries are pretty evenly divided, which I would say on average is about seven women and five men,” Linger said. “Studies have shown that women tend to be less likely to impose the death penalty than men.”

There’s still the possibility that jurors will choose a sentence of life imprisonment, with or without parole.

Sentence phase begins in David Ware trial; DA seeks death penalty

File-David Ware sits in a courtroom with his attorneys Robert Gifford(left) and Kevin Adams at the Tulsa County Courthouse as jury selection begins for his trial in the shootings of Tulsa Police Officer Aurash Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson. Monday, April 4, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla.


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