Nathan LeForce was back in the Logan County Courthouse on Monday morning. After hearing testimony in a two-hour and 35 minute preliminary hearing, a judge ruled there was probable cause that he had committed a crime. Now, he faces the death penalty in an upcoming trial in the murder of Logan County Deputy David Wade.
Four people took the stand on Monday as LeForce spent most of his time looking down, but at times seen scanning the courtroom. In his direct sight was approximately 20 family members of Wade with supporting t-shirts. In addition, 20 uniformed police officers, including eight standing behind him, were in the courtroom just before the hearing.
“It’s tough,” Sheriff Damon Devereaux said after being asked what he was feeling after seeing LeForce once again.
Deputy Wade was helping with an eviction notice at a home near Mulhall on April 18 when he was shot multiple times and later died at OU Medical Center.
LeForce, who is being housed in the Payne County Jail, has been charged with first degree murder, armed robbery and stealing a car.
LeForce, sporting an orange Payne County jumpsuit with shackles around his ankles, only said a few words to his three attorneys.
District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas, First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Etherington and Asst. District Attorney Emilie Kirkpatrick represented the State. Judge Susan Worthington presided over the case.
John Lute and Christine Lute were first called to the stand by the State. John Lute testified he remembers seeing LeForce with a black gun the day before the shooting as he helped him with moving his belongings into a Uhaul.
Both Lute’s said they were inside the home when they heard gunfire. They say they ran out of the house and spotted Wade on the ground and his patrol truck speeding off.
“I just wanted to help him,” Christine Lute said in a teary voice.
The landlord, Judy Antele, testified she was in her car in the driveway when she witnessed the shooting. Antele testified she saw LeForce came out on the porch and shot Deputy Wade. Afterwards, she had to back her vehicle out-of-the-way as LeForce took off in Wade’s patrol truck.
Charnae Bottley, a Langston University student, testified LeForce approached her car at Smitty’s (convenience store) and pointed a gun at her before stealing her vehicle. She described the gun as being black.
“This is a pretty straight forward case,” Thomas said.
LeForce’s defense team did not wish to comment on the hearing.
The Wade family also did not want to give a statement after speaking about the incident for the first time last month.
LeForce’s trial arraignment will be Nov 17.