Witness details Givens calling the shots from inside prison

Witness details Givens calling the shots from inside prison
(Source KSWO)

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - An action-packed day of testimony in the trial of William Givens as Jana Givens, the man's ex-fiance, walked jurors through a story of an incarcerated prisoner running an empire on the outside.

William Givens is charged in the 2016 shooting of a GEO prison guard named Rachel DeWalt, but Jana Givens says there is much more to the story.

Jana Givens and William Givens were never actually married, but Jana did changer her last name because they had plans of getting married. She said over several years, William Givens paid her rent, bought her a new car, gave detailed instructions on how to smuggle drugs into prison and ultimately told people to kill other people, all from behind bars.

Jana Givens testified that her relationship with William Givens started on Facebook while she was living in Texas. She said they hit it off and would eventually talk on the phone daily, though at first, she did not realize he was on an illegal cell phone in prison.

She eventually moved to Lawton because he told her to get a job at the Lawton Correctional Facility. That eventually turned into her bringing tobacco into prison for him. She said he walked her through the exact process of how to do it. She said she knew he was making money off of that because when she moved to Lawton, he paid her rent and began paying her car payments through PayPal accounts.

She also detailed how she knows Michael Ishman, the man who allegedly shot a GEO prison guard named Rachel DeWalt. She said several times, Givens had told her to take Ishman somewhere and to wait in the car while he did something, though she claimed to not know what he was doing. She said that happened several times, including on the morning that DeWalt was shot.

She testified that William Givens called her and told her and Ishman, as well as another man named Brandon Truwell to drive to a neighborhood on Kinyon, which is where DeWalt was shot. She said Ishman was wearing all black. When they arrived in the neighborhood, she said William Givens told her to park at an abandoned house. Then she heard Ishman tell Givens he would "blast the girl" before getting out of the car. She said she went back to her apartment and was told to wait for Ishman to show up. When he did, she said he got on the phone with William Givens and walked through what he had just done, in front of her and Truwell. He said he saw DeWalt's SUV pulling out of her driveway, so he approached it and began shooting at her. He said a neighbor started chasing him so he ran, jumped a fence and hid his hoodie and the gun at a nearby apartment complex. Tuesday, a neighbor testified to chasing the gunman and the Lawton Police Department testified to finding the hoodie and gun hidden at an apartment complex.

From there, Jana Givens said her, Ishman and Truwell went to Dallas. Once there, William Givens told her to buy Ishman a plane ticket from Dallas to Tulsa so that it would look like he had been in Texas at the time of the shooting.

She later went back to Tulsa and spoke with police, saying she knew what happened in the DeWalt shooting in Tulsa. Wednesday, she said she lied to police about what happened because she was scared.

A week later, she came to Lawton to speak with LPD but said she again did not tell the whole story. She said she was immediately arrested for her part in the crime after that interview.

She said she spent 30 days in jail before being bailed out. She said Givens paid her bail from prison through an attorney, who was also being paid for by Givens. She said she remained in contact with Givens in prison because the attorney gave her his cell phone number in jail.

She was bonded out and said Givens bought her a car and told her to drive to Dallas. Once there, he told her not to go to court for her preliminary hearing, instead, telling her to go back to Tulsa, where a fake ID was waiting for her. From there, she said he told her to go to Pennsylvania which she did. She stayed for a month at a battered women's shelter before living for 5 months in a different city in Pennsylvania. Eventually, she was caught and brought back to Lawton but even still, she was able to communicate with Givens through paper on the rec yard at the prison.

She said she didn't want to be part of this but still kept talking to Givens because she "wanted to keep her friends close and her enemies closer."

In cross-examination, the defense focused on the fact that Jana Givens was not just an innocent bystander, saying that she had a choice to do the things she did. They mentioned that she was on no drugs or alcohol, so would have had a clear head about what was happening. But, Jana Givens maintained William Givens was calling the shots and forcing her, saying he would have hurt her if she didn't listen.

The defense also questioned whether Givens was making her story up to protect a hidden relationship with Ishman. Jana Givens again denied this, saying she would refuse to talk with Ishman while he stayed at her house.

The defense also questioned why she took so long to call the police. Givens said it was because she was scared, but the defense questioned whether it was simply because she knew she had committed a crime when she drove Ishman to shoot DeWalt.

The defense ended their questioning by pointing out Jana Givens would receive a significantly shorter sentence by cooperating with police, asking if she was lying simply to get out going to jail. She maintained she was telling the truth.

Jurors finished the day with the state's final witness, Brandon Truwell, who is a cousin of William Givens.

He testified that he talked on the phone with Givens several times while he was in prison, including on Facetime. He said he moved in with Jana Givens in Lawton while he was trying to get a job at the Lawton Correctional Facility.

He walked jurors through a similar story to Jana Givens, but there were some significant differences. He claimed he never knew anybody was shot until several months after the fact when detectives told him about it, while Jana Givens said they were both told by Ishman just hours after the shooting.

He also noted that he was never in a gang, despite Jana Givens saying he was. He said he had heard the name Rachel DeWalt once, before the shooting. He said he heard Jana and William Givens talking about here and assumed they were trying to find her when they dropped Michael Ishman off.

Truwell was the state's final witness so closing arguments are expected to begin tomorrow.

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