CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Dark new details have been released about a woman’s body found at Lake Thunderbird in mid-February.
The Cleveland County District Attorney is now charging Austin Godwin with her murder.
“A gruesome set of facts led to the murder and her body being put out at the lake,” said District Attorney Greg Mashburn.
He’s seeking justice for Charissia Dawn Bell.
Tuesday, he formerly charged 30-year-old Godwin with first-degree murder based off of the work of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Court documents revealed that on the night of Feb. 12, Godwin was on his way home to the Saratoga Springs Apartments in southeast Norman, on 12th Ave. SE near Classen Blvd. He saw Bell walking down the street and she got in Godwin’s vehicle.
“The fact that they were strangers leading up to this is different than what we usually see,” Mashburn said. “It’s a dangerous situation for a young lady all by herself to get into a vehicle with someone she doesn’t know.”
The alleged strangers went back to his apartment, where officials allege that Bell took a shower and came out of the bathroom wearing a towel.
Godwin then tried to have sex with Bell, but she refused.
The court documents said a frustrated Godwin then got a rope, put it around her neck, and “strangled Bell for about four minutes until Bell was unconscious and then for about another minute until Bell was dead.”
Her last words were about her children.
Godwin then dressed Bell’s body.
The probable cause affidavit for the case said on the morning of Feb. 13, a scared Godwin put Bell in a small black tote, but couldn’t carry it.
He then allegedly went to a nearby Walmart and bought a large clear tote with wheels and went back to his apartment, where he wrapped blankets over and around Bell’s body.
Godwin is said to have told OSBI he then placed the black tote with Bell’s body inside the clear tote and then loaded them into his vehicle.
He took the body in the totes to Lake Thunderbird, an area he was familiar with and knew was secluded. He placed the totes near some bushes.
Godwin told authorities he wanted Bell “to have a view of the lake.”
That night, two bicyclists found the totes with the body inside and called 911. It was on Feb. 21 that Godwin turned himself in to the Norman Police Department, who reported the situation to OSBI.
Mashburn called the case “very unusual.”
“What you usually don’t see in homicide cases are stranger murders,” he explained. “Usually the parties know each other, have a relationship of some sort. The fact that the body of this young lady was put in totes and placed into a rural area also makes it very unusual. All of those things kind of makes this case stand out a little bit.”
In addition to first-degree murder, Godwin is also being charged with unlawful removal of a dead body.