Preliminary hearing begins for Blackwell police officer facing 2nd-degree murder charges

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PERRY, Okla. (KFOR) - The preliminary hearing is underway for the Blackwell police officer accused of shooting and killing a suspect following a pursuit. 

Lt. John Mitchell was indicted by a grand jury on second-degree murder charges for his roll in the shooting of Michael Godsey.  

"We've been excited from the get-go to have the evidence in this case brought out to the public, that's happening now. The facts of the case haven't changed since May 20th," Oklahoma State FOP President Jason Smith said. "It's a horrible situation but the facts of the case, we believe exonerate Lt. Mitchell."

Prior to the pursuit, Godsey allegedly shot at a random car before exchanging fire with Cpl. Keith Denton at her home. 

Denton was among the state's witnesses called to testify in day one of the preliminary hearing. 

During his testimony, Denton told a Noble County judge that when Godsey pointed a gun at him, "It entered into my mind that this is the night I could lose my life."

When the pursuit came to an end, video from Denton's dashcam shows Mitchell firing at least 60 shots towards Godsey's vehicle. 

The video shows Mitchell began shooting shortly after both the truck and Denton's vehicle came to a stop. 

District Attorney Jason Hicks asked Denton if it would've been reasonable to wait and see what Godsey was doing before firing. 

After a long pause, he answered yes.

The DA also asked Denton if he felt it was necessary to open fire again after the truck came to a stop. 

Denton said he did not.

During the testimony, the courtroom was packed with law enforcement officers from several different agencies. 

FOP President Jason Smith says it was important for everyone to be there to show their support.  

"The outcome of this case could determine how law enforcement is handled in the State of Oklahoma," Smith said. "It couldn't be more important to us that we want to support our brother."

The hearing is scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday.


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