Prosecutors highlight 3 past homicides that accused serial killer is linked to during Oklahoma death penalty trial

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The death penalty trial for 61-year-old William Reece continued at the Oklahoma County Courthouse on Tuesday.

Today, the jurors learned more about the three other murders in Texas that Reece is allegedly linked to. They also learned how investigators used Tiffany Johnston’s 1997 murder to find the bodies of Kelli Cox and Jessica Cain.

On Tuesday, Texas Ranger Jim Holland took the witness stand while the jury listened to a nearly five-hour tape recording of his conversation with Reece at a Texas prison.

Reece is linked to four murders in Oklahoma and Texas, including Tiffany Johnston’s killing.

Tiffany Johnston

The 19-year-old vanished from a Bethany car wash in 1997. Her naked body was found in a Canadian County field the next day.

After a long search for suspects, the case went cold until 2015 when DNA and calling card records linked Reece to the crime.

When Ranger Holland questioned Reece during the recorded conversation, the 61-year-old was already a suspect in 12-year-old Laura Smither’s murder in Friendswood, Texas.

The Ranger testified Reece later admitted to hitting Smither with his white dually pickup truck on a misty day while she was out jogging. When Reece got out to assess the damage, he allegedly saw Smither on the ground with a broken neck.

Ranger Holland testified that Reece told investigators about the murders and to lead them to Kelli Cox’s body, in an effort to escape the death penalty.

William Reece

Holland testified Reece led them to a Missouri County rice field where he allegedly buried Cox in an underground creek.

After days of digging for her body with no results, investigators grew skeptical of Reece. To regain their trust, an anxious Reece detailed Cox’s and Jessica Cain’s murders.

The jury heard another audio recording of Reece confessing to breaking Cox’s neck at a Texas convenience store by slamming her into his white dually truck after she spilled a soda on him.

Later in the recording, the jury heard Reece detailing Cain’s murder. He said it started as an argument about door dings that led to road rage and ended in him strangling Cain on the side of the road.

Even with the death penalty still on the table in Oklahoma, the jury heard Reece saying he would also lead investigators to Cain’s grave behind a bar in Houston.

Defense attorneys argue the ranger fabricated and embellished facts while also using the death penalty to scare Reece into cooperating.

So far, attorneys have not detailed what led up to Johnston’s murder.

The trial starts back up Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More News

Pay it 4Ward

More Pay It 4ward

National News

More U.S. & World

Washington D.C.

More Washington

Your Local Election HQ

More Your Local Election HQ

Daily Oklahoma Coronavirus Data


Contact In Your Corner Team

Latest News

More News


image of QR Code

KFOR Digital Originals

More Digital Original

Follow @KFOR on Twitter