McClendon

Tommy McClendon Jr., is on trial for two counts of felony murder stemming from a fatal collision in 2019.

Michelle Clary was emotional Wednesday when she took the stand to testify. Clary was the driver of the 2019 Honda Passport, carrying four passengers that Tommy McClendon Jr., struck on Nov. 27, 2019. Police alleged McClendon was eluding law enforcement, blew through the stop sign at the intersection of State Highway 51 and Norfolk Road and hit Clary’s vehicle.

Clary’s daughter Shelayna Renea Knott, 28, and her father, Floyd Margason Jr., 77, were killed in the collision.

McClendon, 26, is now facing two counts of felony murder, and if convicted, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Jose Villareal said the day started like it typically did for the victim’s family. Clary testified they had been in Tulsa with family, and they took her grandson to Chuck E. Cheese before heading back to Stillwater. Clary said they were getting a ham for Thanksgiving.

“That was just one of our traditions … to have a ham on Thanksgiving,” she said to Assistant District Attorney Kevin Etherington.

He continued to ask Clary what happened before the wreck, but she said she didn’t remember much. Once they were struck, she remembered the screaming of her grandson, not getting a response from her daughter, and not feeling her father’s pulse. She said she didn’t feel her own pain despite her extensive injuries.

“I have my grandson in the back … and he’s just yelling … I need my mommy,” she continued and said, “I became conscious. I see my dad beside me, and I can tell by his facial expressions he’s not doing good at all … I yell for Shelayna, she wasn’t responding.”

Clary took a deep breath to gain composure, and Etherington had her finish.

“I looked down, and I see her head facing the floorboard … she didn’t respond to me,” Clary said while crying.

She spent an extended amount of time at St. Francis for her injuries and was released a few days before Christmas, she said. After her hand surgery, she found out what happened, and Etherington asked her what she remembered.

“We had been in a car accident. We had lost our daughter and my dad,” she said.

Clary wasn’t able to attend the funeral for her daughter and father.

Defense counsel Royce Hobbs didn’t cross-examine her.

The other witnesses called by the state were several law enforcement officers from different agencies.

The first officer called was Sgt. Carson Watts with Cushing Police. He said he received a call about a stolen vehicle. When dispatch notified him of this, he was at the hospital with Payne County Investigator Brandon Myers.

“Dispatch advised me there was a possible stolen vehicle in the Cushing area,” he said.

Watts never located the vehicle, although he testified he did briefly see the suspected vehicle at some point.

Hobbs cross-examined him briefly.

Yale Police Chief Phillip Kelly was also called to testify. He testified that on Nov. 25, 2019, he saw the gold truck involved in the collision. He ran the tag on the vehicle, and it was returned to someone who lives in Agra. At this time, the car wasn’t reported stolen.

When Kelly went into work on Nov. 27 around 7:30 a.m dispatch notified him that the gold truck he saw two days prior had been reported stolen, he said.

Kelly said he went back to the apartment area where he last saw the vehicle, but it wasn’t there.

While listening to scanner traffic, Kelly said he had a “hunch” McClendon may try to come back to Yale through the back roads. So he drove to the Norfolk Bridge.

While he was out of his vehicle contemplating using stop sticks, Kelly said the truck drove past him.

“I heard a big roar … turned around, and there was a truck there … at a high rate of speed,” he said.

He said he jumped into his patrol truck and started pursuing the car. He never caught up to the vehicle, even at 108 mph, he said.

Kelly described what he observed at the intersection of State Highway 51 and Norfolk Road.

He said he saw another vehicle westbound, and then “it was like a bomb went off at the intersection.”

It was estimated McClendon was going 100 mph, and the speed limit in that area is 45 mph.

Hobbs cross-examined Kelly and asked him several questions, comparing the answers between his testimony today and his testimony at the preliminary hearing on June 3, 2020.

Hobbs insinuated inconsistencies between the two testimonies given regarding when Kelly activated his sirens, how close he got to McClendon while he was driving when he saw the vehicle, and what the vehicle McClendon passed on the bridge did.

Hobbs also mentioned that another law enforcement agency didn’t request Kelly but went to the Norfolk Bridge on a “hunch.”

Stillwater Lt. Cody Manuel also testified. He was operating as a member of the multi-jurisdictional Special Operations Team the day of the collision. SOT was called out to assist with the manhunt when it was learned McClendon fled the scene after the collision.

During cross-examination Manuel said information came in that McClendon may have been armed and had fled the collision scene.

Hobbs asked Manuel if his sole purpose for testifying was to say Hobbs’ client could be armed.

Manuel said no.

Payne County Deputy Tomm Edwards was called to the scene of the collision. Edwards testified to what he saw. He also identified McClendon as the person he saw in the wooded area.

During cross examination Hobbs asked Edwards if he was involved in the Cushing call regarding the stolen vehicle, and Edwards said he wasn’t.

Hobbs asked Edwards if a weapon was found on McClendon or near him. He said no.

Deputy Daniel Nack with PCSO was last to testify. He was activated as a member of SOT the day of the collision. He only had knowledge about his assignment that day and didn’t have information about the collision itself. Nack is the one who handcuffed McClendon. Nack also said a weapon wasn’t found.

Court was dismissed and will resume Thursday at 9 a.m. for the state to continue with their witness list.

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