Suspect charged with two counts of first-degree murder following fatal Yale collision

Tommy Leroy McClendon Jr., 24, was charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder in Payne County District Court following a wreck on Nov. 27 that resulted in the deaths of Shelayna Renea Knott, 28 of Orlando, and Floyd Margason Jr., 77, of Stillwater.

A written affidavit states the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was notified of a double fatality collision at around 2 p.m. on Nov. 27 that occurred at the intersection of Highway 51 and Norfolk Road just west of Yale. During the investigation, it was found that a 2010 Toyota Tundra was being driven by McClendon, and he had an 18-year-old passenger named Elexis Ann Taber.

The affidavit states a Yale Police Department officer noticed the truck traveling north on Norfolk Road, and the truck accelerated at an “extreme high rate of speed” northbound on Norfolk, and struck a 2019 Honda Passport that was traveling westbound on Highway 51. The Honda had four people in the vehicle, including the driver, a woman who was transported to the hospital, Margason, Knott and a 4-year-old juvenile. The juvenile was treated and released from the hospital. Knott and Margason were pronounced dead at the scene.

The affidavit states that following the collision, the truck rolled an unknown number of times and Taber was ejected from the vehicle. McClendon fled on foot into a wooded area, and several agencies were involved in a manhunt for several hours. He was eventually found in a heavily wooded area near the site of the wreck.

In an interview with McClendon after he was in custody, the officer writes that McClendon admitted to seeing the police car following him and tried to speed up to get away, and he admitted to drug use recently before driving the vehicle. The vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day, and McClendon did not have a valid driver’s license. The affidavit states that after the investigation and what McClendon said, the fatalities occurred when McClendon tried to evade police and he made a conscious decision to drive a stolen vehicle at a high rate of speed and caused a double-fatality collision.

Due to McClendon being in a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude an officer at the time of the wreck, he is being prosecuted as potentially violating the following statute of the State of Oklahoma concerning when first-degree murder can be charged:

“A person also commits the crime of murder in the first degree, regardless of malice, when that person or any other person takes the life of a human being during, or if the death of a human being results from, the commission or attempted commission of murder of another person, shooting or discharge of a firearm or crossbow with intent to kill, intentional discharge of a firearm or other deadly weapon into any dwelling or building as provided in Section 1289.17A of this title, forcible rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, escape from lawful custody, eluding an officer, first degree burglary, first degree arson, unlawful distributing or dispensing of controlled dangerous substances or synthetic controlled substances, trafficking in illegal drugs, or manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance.”

Court records indicate a charge of first-degree murder can be punishable by death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment without parole.

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