McAlester, Oklahoma

From the Durant Daily Democrat of August 23, 2007

Jury acquits Pittsburg County man in killing

A Pittsburg County jury on Wednesday acquitted a man of first-degree murder in the death of a former employee.

Jurors deliberated a little more than an hour before finding Mike Krebbs not guilty of murder in the Aug. 3, 2006, death of Ty Mordecai outside Krebbs’ home near Blocker. The panel also acquitted Krebbs, 34, of the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion.

As the jury foreman read the verdict, Krebbs, who had been leaning forward with his eyes closed, slowly exhaled. Mordecai’s mother, Kathy Mordecai, who had gathered signatures on a petition for a grand jury investigation of her son’s death, sat in silence.

Mordecai had once worked for Krebbs’ construction company and the two men had been friends.

Krebbs testified on Wednesday that he shot Mordecai, but did so after he was assaulted. Witnesses also said that Mordecai had threatened Krebbs previously.

On the stand, Krebbs said Mordecai had called him earlier that night wanting to fight him and had threatened to burn his house down if he didn’t come home. When Krebbs returned to his residence around 1:30 or 2 a.m., he saw a strange car parked outside his driveway and another one pulling out from his home, according to his testimony.

He said he put a clip in a handgun he had in his truck, and when he pulled up close to his house, he saw Mordecai waiting for him.

Krebbs told the jury that Mordecai attacked him as he sat inside his truck.

“He was coming in through the window,” Krebbs told the jury. “I shot, not to kill him, just to get him away from me.”

Krebbs also said he fired several more shots because he didn’t know if Mordecai had a weapon. None of the other bullets struck Mordecai, according to testimony.

Emily Redman, the district attorney for Bryan, Atoka and Coal counties who was appointed to try the case, told jurors that Krebbs ran after Mordecai and shot at him with a pistol at least five times.

Redman was assigned to the case after the recusal of Pittsburg County District Attorney Jim Miller, who knew Krebbs.

When Miller declined to file charges in the weeks after the shooting, Kathy Mordecai gathered signatures to urge authorities to take action in the case.

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