Man arrested for Okemah-area murder

OSBI investigation report submitted to DA’s office; official filing of first-degree murder charges anticipated 

By Joshua Allen
Staff Reporter

Anthony Spain  (Photo provided by OSBI)

A local man is behind bars at the Okfuskee County Jail after allegedly shooting to death his wife’s mother with a shotgun during an altercation Saturday evening near Okemah. 

The altercation that ended in murder involved 34-year-old Anthony Spain and his mother-in-law, Teresa Smith, who was allegedly killed by Spain after he shot her twice with a 12-gauge shotgun at his home, located at 369197 West Highway 56 near Okemah.

According to court documents, one gunshot hit Smith’s torso-area, the other her head. 

Okfuskee County Sheriff Jim Rasmussen said he requested assistance from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), which took the reins of the murder investigation, shortly after the shooting.   

Spain’s wife, Sabrina Smith reportedly tried to intervene during the altercation between her mother and husband but was unsuccessful, according to her statements during questioning the night of the homicide. 

She told investigators she witnessed the shooting before she “gathered her four children and left the residence,” OSBI Agent Derek White reported in an affidavit filed in the Okfuskee County District Court Monday.    

According to that affidavit, Spain was arrested just after 5:30 the morning after the shooting (Sunday) by OSBI agents on a complaint of malicious homicide, pending the likely official filing of a first-degree murder charge by the Okfuskee County District Attorney’s Office. 

The arrest came as a result of the OSBI agents’ investigation of the crime scene and subsequent questioning of Spain and Sabrina Smith, White reported. 

Questioned separately — Spain at the Okemah Police Department and Sabrina Smith at the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office — the two gave somewhat similar statements concerning the timeline of events that night. 

However, their statements were vastly different in implication — Spain claiming to agents he was defending himself and Sabrina Smith claiming her husband shot her mother twice after physically assaulting her and repeatedly muttering, “I didn’t want to do this,” according to the affidavit.  

In his report, Agent White lays out some of the happenings of that Saturday evening as follows: 

“On January 5, 2019, at about 7:36 p.m., Anthony Spain called 911 and reported his mother-in-law came at him with a knife and he shot her. Anthony reported his address as 369197 Highway 56. Okfuskee County deputies responded to 369197 Highway 56, west of Okemah, in Okfuskee County, and located Anthony Spain and Sabrina Smith at the residence. Deputies entered the residence and located a deceased female, later identified as Teresa Smith, in the living room of the residence with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. …” 

Shortly after receiving the 911 call, White reported, a search warrant for the residence was obtained, leading to the processing of the crime scene for evidence by OSBI Crime Scene Agent Miles Keen.

“During processing, Agent Keen observed an apparent gunshot wound to (Teresa) Smith’s head and a second gunshot wound to her rib cage,” White reported. “Agent Keen also located three spent shotgun shell casings.” 

White began questioning Sabrina Smith just after 8 p.m. Saturday. He reported: 

“During this interview, Sabrina said on January 5, 2019, her husband, Anthony Spain, returned to their residence. … Sabrina said she was upstairs when she heard her mother, Teresa Smith and Anthony arguing. Sabrina said she went downstairs and saw Anthony assaulting Teresa on the couch in the living room. Sabrina said she separated Anthony and Teresa but the two of them continued to argue. Sabrina said Anthony pushed Teresa against the living room wall and put his hand on her throat. 

“Sabrina said she pushed Anthony off of Teresa again. Sabrina said Teresa tried to call the police, but Anthony broke Teresa’s phone. Sabrina said she and Teresa were going to get Sabrina’s children and leave the residence. Sabrina said Anthony went upstairs and retrieved his shotgun. Sabrina said Anthony kept muttering, “I didn’t want to do this.” Sabrina said Anthony went to the living room where Smith was. Sabrina said Anthony tried to point the shotgun at Smith but Sabrina intervened. Sabrina said Anthony fired the shotgun into the ceiling of the living room.

“Sabrina said Anthony pointed the shotgun at Smith and fired. Sabrina said Smith fell to the ground. Sabrina said Anthony stepped over to Smith and shot Smith in the head with the shotgun. Sabrina said she gathered her four children and left the residence. Sabrina said she took her children to a family member’s house, then returned to the residence.” 

After several hours interviewing Sabrina Smith, White reported he subsequently commenced questioning of Spain at about 2:24 a.m. Sunday, January 6, at the Okemah Police Department. 

The agent said he read Spain his Miranda rights, which were waived as Spain agreed to speak with agents, White reported.  

Spain told White that “he returned home from drinking at a friend’s house” before he and Teresa Smith “engaged in an argument,” the agent reported. 

After claiming she pushed him, Spain told White “he defended himself by pushing her onto the couch,” claiming, too, that Teresa Smith “scratched him on his arms,” White said. He claimed his wife, Sabrina Smith, intervened during this time, but the argument continued. 

Spain then alleged Teresa Smith threatened him by saying she would “call family members to take care of (him),” according to the court document.  

White’s report continued. At that point, Spain said he went up to his bedroom closet and retrieved his 12-gauge shotgun, which he claimed was to “defend himself,” White said. 

Returning downstairs with the shotgun, Spain told the agent “he fired a shot into the ceiling of the living room to get (Teresa) Smith to leave.” 

He then told agents Teresa Smith “raised her hand up and he saw something shiny in (her) hand” before claiming “he fired the shotgun at (Teresa) Smith, knocking her to the ground,” White said. 

When confronted, the agent reported, Spain “recalled shooting at (Teresa) Smith twice.”   

Spain was most recently an employee of Okemah’s Fiesta Mart on Woody Guthrie. 

According to one news report, published a day or so after the shooting, Spain was also shot during the incident, but Sheriff Rasmussen denied that, stating he was “fine” and not injured.

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