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Man charged in killing of 2 Okla. deputies

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man accused of killing two deputies who were trying to arrest him grinned and chuckled to himself as he appeared in court Monday and learned prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.

Ezekiel Gilbert Ray Holbert, 26, of Seminole, was charged in Seminole County District Court with two counts of first-degree murder in the shootings Sunday of sheriff's deputies Robbie Chase Whitebird, 23, and Marvin Williams, 43. A judge ordered Holbert held without bond.

With his hands and ankles shackled, Holbert appeared to wince as a deputy helped him to his feet to answer the judge's questions. One of his eyes was blackened and swollen. Armed deputies escorted Holbert into the courtroom and stood behind him during the brief hearing.

No attorney appeared with Holbert, and District Attorney Chris Ross said he had not yet requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Holbert also faces three counts of shooting with intent to kill. Ross alleges that Holbert fired shots at two other officers and a woman who lives across the street.

The woman, 22-year-old Jenifer Bowen, had just returned from a walk with her two children when a bullet hit her arm and entered her chest, said her mother-in-law, Janet Bowen. She was in serious condition, according to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

Whitebird and Williams were trying to arrest Holbert for failing to make a court appearance after he was released on bond in a domestic violence case in February. In that case, his mother said he tried to strangle her after he was inhaling paint thinner, court records show. According to an affidavit, "Ms. Holbert and her kids are in fear of Ezekiel's explosive behavior."

Psychiatric history
As the deputies entered the home, Holbert fired several shots, according to an affidavit filed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Adam Whitney.

This is an undated photo released by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's office identified as Ezekial Holbert. Holbert is being held on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of the two Seminole County deputies, said State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown. (AP Photo/Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office)klahoma County Sheriff's Office

"They both were hit within moments of the door opening," said OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown. "I don't know if they even had the opportunity to return fire."

One deputy died at the scene and the second died on the way to the hospital, Brown said.

Ross said Whitebird died inside the house. Williams was dragged from the front porch and died on the way to a hospital.

"I came outside and they were treating one of the officers that was down here at the corner," said William Allison, who lives in the neighborhood where the shooting took place.

Whitney wrote that Holbert told officers he shot at the "enforcement" as they were in his house, using a 9 mm Kel-Tec rifle.

Ross also filed a bill of particulars Monday, indicating that prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty. That document indicates that Holbert has 2002 convictions out of Dallas County, Texas, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault causing bodily injury.

Ross said Holbert also has a "history of involuntary commitments" for psychiatric problems.

Holbert's sister, Tamara Rodriguez, filed for a protective order against him in June 2007, claiming he threatened to kill her husband and her children.

"I'm so scared for my family that he is going to kill someone," Rodriguez wrote in the petition. "He has three guns in the house that he brags about that he is going to shoot my husband with."

The order was dismissed in July 2008 at Rodriguez's request. She said she had moved to Texas and had not had any problems with her brother for almost a year.

Holbert previously was convicted of a misdemeanor count of outraging public decency in Oklahoma County and was the defendant in a case in which a man sought a protective order.