GUTHRIE, Okla. - Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for the man charged in the shooting death of a Logan County sheriff's deputy earlier this week.
Nathan LeForce, 45, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and in shackles, appeared before Judge Louis Duel in Logan County Court Thursday afternoon. LeForce is now charged with first degree murder, larceny of a motor vehicle and first degree armed robbery in connection to the shooting death of Logan County Sheriff's Deputy David Wade.
Inside the packed courtroom, more than two dozen law enforcement officers ringed the gallery as LeForce stood before the judge. Wade's wife was also in the courtroom for the hearing.
Lasting less than ten minutes, Duel granted the state's request and denied LeForce bond, considering the charges and his danger to the public.
Leforce is scheduled for a preliminary conference hearing on April 27. He is being held in the Payne County jail at the Logan County Sheriff's request.
"I'm not going to put that on my staff to have to see this guy every day. I really don't want him in my facility," said Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux.
“He killed a police officer in the line of duty and, flat-out, we're not going to tolerate that in this county," said Logan County District Attorney Laura Thomas after the hearing. "I'm not going to tolerate police officers being murdered in our community."
Thomas says she will seek the death penalty in the case.
“From what I've seen from the evidence, he wanted to kill a police officer, that's our theory of the case," she said. "I can't speak to the evidence -- but you've seen a portion of the (body cam) video, which seemed quite calm, non-shaky and collected to me."
Wade, 40, was serving an eviction notice at a house on Mulhall Rd. and I-35 when LeForce reportedly shot him in the face and body Tuesday morning.
LeForce’s name was not on the eviction order and has no ties to the property where Wade was shot. It isn’t clear why LeForce was at the residence.
John and Christine Lute - who were present at the house and the subject of the eviction notice - were arrested on unrelated drug charges Wednesday afternoon.
Recently released body cam video of the incident shows the moments that led up to the shooting. Wade talks with the Lutes as well as LeForce for several minutes.
After relaying information to dispatchers, Wade walks back towards the house where LeForce comes into frame and pulls out a gun.
Police said LeForce shot Wade in the face and then multiple times as he fell to the ground before taking off in the deputy's vehicle. What is not seen in the video is Wade pulling out his service weapon and exchanging fire, according to Devereaux.
"It was just kind of a surreal moment that he stayed in the fight as long as the bad guy was there," Devereaux said Wednesday.
Wade was able to call for backup, and a pursuit ensued.
LeForce then reportedly stopped at gas station near State Highway 33 and Henney Rd. near Langston and carjacked a customer.
Wade - a husband and father of three - was airlifted to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Authorities located the stolen vehicle shortly before 11 a.m. near County Rd. 76 and Jaxton Rd., just northeast of Guthrie.
After a frantic search for much of the morning and afternoon, LeForce was arrested after being found shortly after 2 p.m in a nearby shed.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it, along with multiple state and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is still searching for the weapon used to shoot and kill Wade.
"The investigation is still ongoing -- we're still looking for key pieces," being the gun, Devereaux said after the hearing Thursday. "But we are pretty confident in the case that's been presented."
Devereaux called LeForce "a killer" and says the district attorney's plans to pursue the death penalty is what it's there for, adding "there's nobody that I know of that deserves it more than him."
Wade's funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.
Support from an unlikely source
Devereaux says the amount of support from the community, in the wake of Wade's death, has been overwhelming. From those in the Guthrie and Logan County community to law enforcement agencies across the state.
“Our ultimate goal in this is to support (the Wade) family," Devereaux said. "(The Sheriff's Office) will grieve as a family here, on our own."
But it was a show of support from an unlikely source that choked up the Sheriff after the court hearing, as Devereaux showed reporters a sketch that he was given by one of his jail deputies.
“I was just back in the jail, going through, making sure that everybody was out and on their way and one of the detention deputies said, 'Hey, one of our guys (in the jail) drew this picture for you,'" Devereaux recalled the deputy telling him, "'and we didn't know if you wanted it or allowed them to hang it up.'"
"In Memory of David Wade," reads the pencil sketch, featuring two crossed American flags behind roses, centered by Wade's badge number on a Sheriff's star and crest.
“The outpouring of support from outside this facility has been phenomenal, and to see our guys in the back--," Devereaux said choking up, "that we've put back there -- they're obviously concerned for us too."