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Oklahoma City bail bondsman charged

Oklahoma City bail bondsman Howard Barnett was charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter over a fatal shooting at a hotel Thanksgiving night.

He denies wrongdoing.

"We believe that at the end of the day the facts and the law will support Mr. Barnett's position and actions that he took that night," his attorney, Joan Lopez, said.

Killed was Jennifer D. Dunn, 43.

Barnett was trying to apprehend a fugitive, Todd Allen Willis, at the Hyatt Hotel in south Oklahoma City. Prosecutors allege the bondsman is to blame for the death because he unlawfully entered a hotel room when Dunn returned there.

He said he pushed up behind her back and went around her after she opened the door, according to a police affidavit. He said he then had a physical altercation with Willis and Dunn once he got inside the room. He said his handgun discharged twice.

Dunn was struck once and was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

The bondsman admitted that he never identified himself to Dunn, did not have any identifying markings on his clothing and did not display a badge, according to the police affidavit. Willis told police he thought he was being robbed because he had drugs in the room.

A judge had ordered Willis arrested after he failed to show up for court hearings in August on his drug cases. Willis, 53, was jailed after being treated at the hospital for a head injury.

Barnett, 49, was detained at the hotel but released after being questioned at the police department. He is expected to surrender to the Oklahoma County jail on Tuesday. If convicted, he could be sentenced to at least four years in prison.

Also charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter was Aaron Michael Waller, 22, of Yukon. Prosecutors allege he is to blame for the Dec. 11 death of Joshua Kaleb Myers, 30, of Guthrie.

Police reported Waller admitted punching the victim in the face during a fight at a nightclub in Bricktown Dec. 7, according to an affidavit. Police reported Myers fell backward onto the floor and died of a blunt force injury to the head.

Nolan Clay

Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,... Read more ›

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