While he was originally set to waive his preliminary hearing Sept. 4, a Stephens County man accused of the shooting death of Odis W. Turner, Jr. has been slated for an actual preliminary hearing conference in October.
Steven Charles Ekaitis was originally to appear in court for his preliminary hearing conference June 10, but it was rescheduled as a waiver for July 31. The waiver was then pushed back from July 31 until Sept. 4, and court documentation now reflects a new court date is set at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 16 for what will be a preliminary hearing conference. No waiver is associated with the October date.
Ekaitis, 38, faces charges of using a vehicle to facilitate discharge of a firearm and possessing a firearm during commission of a felony. Both counts are after two or more felony convictions.
The charges come after police found Turner, Jr. dead in the front yard of a residence where Ekaitis resided at the time.
Initial reports from the shooting show police dispatch received a call around 10:17 p.m. Monday, May 26, advising of a gunshot victim down in a yard.
The caller said they heard the gunshot but had no other information, according to reports, other than an address of 1835 W. Osage.
Officers and first responders went to the residence and observed a male in the yard, later identified as Turner, Jr., who had sustained a single gunshot wound to the chest. They tried to resuscitate him, but he died in the front yard. Officers also found two individuals, a male witness and a woman, on the scene. They were transported to the police station for interviews, where police discovered two other individuals were also at the scene in company with Turner, Jr.
Reports show after the shooting, Ekaitis got in the male witness’s truck and tried to leave, but the man stopped him. Reports show Ekaitis allegedly pointed the pistol at the man and told him to get in the truck. They left and observed the two other individuals, who remained near Turner’s car during the incident, walking down the street.
Ekaitis allegedly shot at these two individuals. The man told police Ekaitis drove past the pair walking, stopped the vehicle and fired three times at them. He did not hit either individual, the man told police, and they then drove to the Primrose area, where Ekaitis was later located.
While at the scene on Osage, 911 received another call from a person identifying himself as Ekaitis and confessing to the shooting. Ekaitis advised police he was at a home in the area of Primrose and when law enforcement responded, they found Ekaitis in the pool.
An interview from the male witness taken to the station indicates Ekaitis was allegedly high on methamphetamine at the time of the shooting. The man was uncertain of where the gun came from but stated he observed Ekaitis loading the gun about five minutes before Turner arrived to the home on Osage. He identified the gun as a .22 pistol, small and silver.
The male also stated the woman picked up for interviews was also involved in the shooting. He claimed the shooting was allegedly planned and they would try claiming “self defense.”
Law enforcement learned Ekaitis and the woman allegedly antagonized Turner in an attempt to lure him inside the property on Osage, though the witness said Ekaitis couldn’t wait for Turner to get inside before he shot at him. The man advised the original plan was for the woman to shoot because she was not a felon and could legally possess a gun.
The witness tried to lead law enforcement to where the gun was disposed, but search groups only found four live .22 rounds and one syringe. Police were further advised the female interviewee and Ekaitis went to a local gun range the Friday before the shooting to purchase bullets and practice shooting the gun, according to police reports.
In an interview, Ekaitis told police Turner showed up at his door and began banging on it, yelling threats. Ekaitis also told police he “bam, just reacted.”
Ekaitis advised he was not scared, but when asked if he was scared of Turner he said, “Yes, because he has a ‘schizophrenic’ type of mind.”
Police also obtained multiple cell phones as part of the investigation. Charges have not yet been filed for anyone else in the case.
If found guilty of either charge or if charges are enhanced, Ekaitis will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before earning credits toward completion of whatever sentencing is handed down. Ekaitis remains on a $5 million bond.