By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater man accused in a fatal shooting outside the Blue Diamond Cabaret on Highway 51, who remains jailed without bail, was arraigned Thursday on a first-degree murder charge by a Payne County judge, who ordered him to return to court on June 5.
On the day after the shooting, the defendant, Joaquin Daniel Ruiz-Medrano, 28, of Stillwater, was arrested after arriving at the Payne County Sheriff’s Office with a lawyer, a witness, and a gun on April 24, Investigator Brandon Myers wrote in an affidavit.
The victim, Marco Antonio De Leon, 22, who was from Texas but reportedly had been an oilfield contract worker in the Cushing area, had at least eight gunshot wounds, according to the autopsy physician, the affidavit said.
“One wound was center mass of his chest and was the shot that killed him. The exit wound showed that Marco was on his back when that shot was fired, and the shooter would have been standing over Marco when that shot was made,” the affidavit alleged.
The homicide occurred about 2 am on April 23 outside the Blue Diamond Cabaret, “a strip club located a little over three miles east of Stillwater on State Hwy 51,” the affidavit said.
The victim, who was found east of the club just into the grass on the east side of the parking lot by deputies, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel, the affidavit said.
“I along with other deputies interviewed witnesses to include the victim’s co-workers and employees of the club,” the investigator, who sought the assistance of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit, wrote in his affidavit.
OSBI Agent Eli Turley “located a cellular phone that we believed to belong to J Daniel Ruiz. I was able to find a Daniel Ruiz that lived in the Stillwater area and learned his full name,” the investigator wrote in his affidavit.
Arriving at the Sheriff’s Office on the day after the killing, the defendant’s attorney said, “Daniel wanted to talk to law enforcement because he had shot the victim in self-defense,” which he said that his friend, Luis Rivera, could corroborate, the affidavit said.
Although the friend initially told a story somewhat consistent with the defendant’s, Rivera “became emotional and told me that the victim did not have a gun, there was not a gun ever mentioned, and that the victim’s friends never told the victim to pull out a gun and shoot him,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
Rivera “told me that when he fell down, it was not because he was knocked down in the altercation but tripped because he had been drinking. He also told me that the fight was only between him and the victim, and the victim’s friends were not a threat, and that he was not in fear of his life and that it was just a fist fight,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“Staff at the club told me there had been no problems in the club until the altercation and shooting in the parking lot at closing time, Marco had not been kicked out of the club, and no staff reported to me or any other deputy that Marco was in the club with a gun, there was no talk of a gun anytime during the altercation,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“Witnesses told me that Marco was on the ground, and the shooter shot him while he was on the ground. The only shell casing we located was .45 caliber and no other firearm was located,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“I also learned that Daniel (the defendant) and Luis (his friend) came back to the scene upon learning that Daniel had lost his phone at some point during the altercation. Daniel dropped Luis off at the club after the shooting in an attempt to locate Daniel’s phone — knowing that the phone would lead law enforcement to him.
“Luis told me that he didn’t make it to the area the phone was because he heard sirens and ran east of the club to the tree line and back to the highway where he met back up with Daniel. Since they were not able to retrieve the phone, Daniel and Luis concocted the story that Marco and his co-workers were the aggressors, Marco had a gun, and Marco ultimately pulled the gun, pointing it at Daniel’s friend forcing Daniel to shooting Marco in self-defense.
“In reality, Marco is the victim, and Daniel shot Marco without any justifiable reason,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
According to the murder charge filed by Payne County First Assistant District Attorney Debra Vincent last week, 28 witnesses are listed for the prosecution including nine deputies from the Payne County Sheriff’s Office.