This week has been busy for Tulsa homicide detectives, who investigated one homicide at a north Tulsa apartment early Tuesday and by early that afternoon were announcing arrests in the city’s second homicide of 2022.
Detectives suspect foul play after a young man was found dead at the Oakley Apartments in north Tulsa on Tuesday morning.
The death — Tulsa’s third homicide of 2022 — was reported about 8:45 a.m. near Tecumseh Street and Harvard Avenue. A neighbor and friend of the man’s had gone to see him and found the body, Police Department Public Information Officer Andre Baul said.
Trauma was evident on the body, Baul said, but homicide detectives were unsure what had caused the trauma.
Most of the complex’s parking lot was cordoned off by crime-scene tape as neighbors and family members gathered outside.
Hours after that call, police announced the arrests of two men in connection with the second homicide of the year.
Carl Couch, 36, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Michael Johnson, 41, who was found with a gunshot wound at a north Tulsa home a week earlier. Jeremy Paul York, 47, was charged with accessory to murder.
On Monday, patrol officers located Couch, who was questioned by homicide detectives and was booked into the Tulsa County jail later that night.
Couch, listed as homeless in jail records, is held without bond.
York reportedly was taken into custody Tuesday. He is held in lieu of $500,000 bond.
Officers were called to the residence, just north of Admiral Place on Florence Avenue, about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 5. Johnson died at a hospital several hours later.
According to an affidavit, Johnson and his girlfriend had just arrived at Johnson’s home after winning some money at a casino when they were ambushed and chased by a group of people “who shot Johnson in the head.”
During the investigation following the homicide, police found information that indicated the shooting resulted from a drug debt owed to a person incarcerated with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and affiliated with the Universal Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, according to the affidavit.
The information indicated that Johnson owed the gang member money for narcotics and had not paid his debt. A group of people were ordered to collect the debt or take Johnson’s Ford Mustang, according to the affidavit.
Police apparently were told different stories about what happened.
One witness reportedly said Couch, who the witness knew as “A.J.,” told the witness he shot Johnson “after the victim was getting the upper hand during a physical altercation.”
The witness told officers that Couch, another man and a woman had gone to collect the debt from Johnson.
After the homicide occurred, York went to collect the .22-caliber handgun and silencer that was used in the homicide, the witness reportedly said. The witness alleged that York then took the gun apart and threw it in the river.
On Monday, police interviewed another witness who was present during the shooting, according to the affidavit. That person had been kidnapped and forced to go with Couch and the other debt collectors, the person told police.
When the group arrived at Johnson’s house, Couch and the woman confronted Johnson, who then ran to his front porch as Couch shot him twice, according to that witness.
Later Monday, after officers had arrested Couch, he told investigators he did shoot Johnson, according to the affidavit. He reportedly said his girlfriend, the woman who was with him during the shooting, had cheated on him with Johnson.
Couch reportedly told police he waited for Johnson to arrive at home and then banged on Johnson’s car window, making Johnson run away from him.
Couch said he shot twice at Johnson but missed, according to the affidavit, and then the two began fighting over the gun. He told investigators that was when he shot Johnson in the head, according to the document.
Couch reportedly said Johnson’s cousin was with them during the shooting and that he wished he had shot Johnson’s cousin, too, because “blood is thicker than water.”
“(Couch) said he has been to prison before, and this will be the last time he goes to prison,” the affidavit states.
Kelsy Schlotthauer and Anna Codutti contributed to this story.
What you missed this week in notable Tulsa crimes and court cases
This week's local crime and court updates from Tulsa World.
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