The Nathan LeForce murder trial is well underway with the first week of testimony in the books as of Thursday night. The trial was off on Friday due to other court business that Judge Phillip Corley had to deal with. The trial will resume Monday morning in the Logan County Courthouse.
The prosecution rested the first part of their case on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Over the three days, the prosecutors introduced the body camera, full video of the shooting, the GPS video of the car movement, the autopsy photographs, the video from the carjacking at Smitty’s and pictures of the LeForce arrest by the tactical unit. The jury heard from multiple Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) personnel, Logan and Oklahoma County Sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, the property owner where the shooting occurred, the property owner where the arrest was made, the victim of the carjacking and the tenants who were being evicted when the shooting occurred.
The Wade family and relatives have been in attendance since jury selection began and have been very attentive to all of the testimony. A few family members left the courtroom during the shooting video and the autopsy pictures that were very graphic in nature, the jury of seven men and five women have been paying close attention all week as testimony has gone about six hours a day this week.
When the video of the shooting was shown, LeForce slumped down in his chair after the 19-minute video was introduced into evidence. The body cam caught David Wade’s entire interaction from arrival at the property to the shooting.
The defense got started with the first stage of their defense on Thursday. The defense asked and was granted permission to utilize some of their mitigation witnesses for the first stage defense. The prosecution objected, but Judge Corley allowed it. The defense called six witnesses on Thursday. The witnesses included one of the Department of Human Services (DHS) case workers that handled the removal of LeForce’s children from the home in 2015, a police officer who had written eight different reports on LeForce, a recovery minister who attempted to help LeForce with his addiction issues, a friend who visited LeForce in jail and was with him on April 16 and 17 before dropping him off in Orlando, a family therapist and educator that LeForce saw in 2016 in an attempt to get his children back, and an attorney from Perry who represented LeForce in the hearings regarding his children.
That same attorney spoke to LeForce the morning of the shooting but was unable to understand or assist LeForce as he was on his way to Oklahoma City. The lawyer also reached out to law enforcement officials that afternoon when he heard what happened as he had LeForce’s cell phone number and had attempted to reach him and left him a message to surrender. The lawyer also testified how he was present in Jan. 2017 when LeForce gave up custody of his children when it was learned that DHS had no intent of allowing the children to return to his care.
Week three starts Monday morning with the defense calling more witnesses. There were over 20 witnesses on the original list. The News Leader has been in the courtroom and will be following the case to the end.