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Villanueva Guilty, Sentenced to Life

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LAWTON Okla_ A Lawton man was convicted of murder Monday in the beating and shooting death of another man last October.

Jose Villanueva was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charles Tyson, who was beaten and shot with a shotgun. Villanueva chose to not have a jury trial, so Monday's testimony and evidence were considered only by Judge McCall, and he reached the decision to convict without much deliberation.

Since it was a non-jury trial, testimony started early, and it went very quickly. Nearly 60 pieces of evidence were presented, and the defendant chose to take the stand. Among the evidence was a letter Villanueva wrote to his brother while in jail and a police interrogation video where he admitted to shooting Tyson.

It was a video that Villanueva's defense attorney Michael Corrales tried having suppressed, because he said Villanueva was under the influence of meth, Xanax, and other drugs and was not coherent enough for admission. After hearing from several witnesses about Villanueva's personality that day, Judge McCall denied Corrales' request. In the interrogation, Villanueva admitted to shooting Tyson, but for 2 different reasons: one being that Tyson was trying to rob him of a gun, and the other being that Tyson had murdered his friend Omar Morales.

Detectives later said Tyson was never a suspect for the open investigation of Morales' murder. When Villanueva took the stand, he said he does not remember the interrogation or any statements he made. He also clarified by what he meant in a letter to his brother where he said, "I'm not a murderer, a killer, but not a murderer." He said he meant just like if someone ran a red light and killed someone, they are a killer. He said he did not mean to kill Tyson, so he is not a murderer, just a killer.

Before Villanueva took the stand, Corrales asked for the charge be demurred, saying that the state did not have enough evidence to find guilty Villanueva of first degree murder. Judge McCall said at the time, he did believe they had enough for first-degree murder but would consider a lesser charge while deliberating.

As we now know, that was not the case. He was found guilty of first degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. This means he will have to serve 38 years before he can be considered for early release.

 

 

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