Judge grants continuance in murder case

  • Court

A man accused of second-degree murder has been granted a continuance (case postponement) before a preliminary hearing.

Zackary Otto Sherwood, 27 of Weatherford, through his attorney, requested the continuance in the case late last month, where District Attorney Angela Marsee did not object. Judge Stephanie Jones allowed the continuation.

Sherwood is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Ashley Barr, 30 of Weatherford.

Sherwood was to be back in court August 21 for a preliminary hearing conference.

Sherwood was detained at the scene of the incident in May, following the reported incident. He later was arrested and charged with second-degree murder as the primary suspect in Barr’s murder. Sherwood allegedly claimed the shooting was an accident. However, forensic evidence shows this claim may not be true, court records show.

Detectives Matt Bartel and Jeremy Anderson met with two people in May who had contact and/or saw Sherwood and Barr together earlier in the day Monday before the shooting occurred, court records show.

Bartel interviewed the first person who said she had been with Sherwood and Barr Monday morning. She and Barr allegedly left the Weatherford motel in Sherwood’s vehicle, and he became upset. When they returned to the motel the woman said Sherwood allegedly raised his fist like he was going to hit Barr, but never did. A short time later, the woman said Sherwood allegedly slapped Barr in the face with an open hand. Sherwood and Barr then got into a verbal argument, before the three of them all used methamphetamine and marijuana together. When the woman left the motel room, it was organized. WPD Officers found it in disarray after the alleged shooting occurred, according to court records.

At about 5:40 p.m. that day, while patrolling, Weatherford police officers were flagged down by a reporting person who said he witnessed a physical altercation between Sherwood and Barr outside of the Best Western Plus. Upon contact with Sherwood and Barr, WPD allegedly was advised by both subjects they had been arguing but it had not gotten physical, according to court records.

The second person, interviewed by Anderson Tuesday, was the same person who had flagged down WPD officers earlier in the evening after allegedly witnessing a physical altercation between Sherwood and Barr. The man said he was parked down the street when he allegedly observed a man, Sherwood, chasing a female, Barr. Sherwood allegedly balled up his fist twice as if he were threatening to hit Barr. Sherwood also allegedly grabbed Barr by the hair. The man then drove closer and captured video of part of the altercation. The video showed Sherwood and Barr and the other woman who had been with them earlier that day. The video allegedly only showed a verbal argument, court records show.

At about 8:40 p.m. that same day, WPD was dispatched to the Best Western Plus in reference to a call of shots being fired. Officer Levi Bingham arrived on scene, where he was directed by bystanders to the back of the motel. There, Bingham observed Sherwood lying on the ground next to Barr, who had a small puncture wound in the right side of her chest which Bingham believed to be a gunshot wound. Bingham also allegedly observed a large amount of blood on Sherwood’s hands and clothes, court records show.

Bingham instructed Sherwood to move away from Barr. Bingham could feel a slight pulse in Barr’s neck and she took a few shallow breaths before becoming unresponsive. The Weatherford Fire Department team arrived on scene and lifesaving measures were turned over to them. Barr was taken to Weatherford Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead at about 9:38 p.m., according to court records.

As Bingham was taking care of Barr, Sherwood was nearby and allegedly was crying and said it was an accident, repeatedly. Sherwood told Bingham the gun was inside the motel room, and Bingham detained Sherwood in handcuffs at that time. Bingham observed Sherwood to allegedly be hysterical. Bingham asked Sherwood “what he was under the influence of,” and Sherwood said marijuana. Sherwood was taken to the Weatherford City Jail, court records show.

At about 10:03 p.m., Sherwood waived his Miranda rights to speak with Detective Joe Cox. Sherwood told Cox he and Barr had just returned from Chicken Express and were going to smoke outside the motel room. Sherwood allegedly told Barr he was cold, so she offered him her hoodie and asked him to get her a blanket from inside the room. When Sherwood allegedly went into the motel room to get a blanket, he noticed his 410 shotgun on the bed, which had a shell in it, according to court records.

Sherwood allegedly grabbed both the blanket and the gun off the bed, then leaned the gun against the dresser and threw the blanket to Barr. Sherwood said he chambered the shell, but “never got to unchamber it before it went off.” Sherwood said he was not sure what direction Barr was facing when the gun went off, but he allegedly had the gun pointed up and to the left, court records show.

The gun was a 410 shotgun, which must be chambered and then unchambered in order to unload it. Sherwood allegedly said the gun went off when he pushed the bolt forward and he did not have his finger on the trigger. He said the gun had never done this before and he did not understand it, according to court records.

After a search warrant was obtained from Judge Donna Dirickson at about 11:12 p.m., a search of the motel room was conducted. When Detective Matt Bartel served Sherwood with his copy of the search warrant at the Weatherford City Jail, Sherwood allegedly said he had just shot his best friend and did not want to wash his hands because it was all he had left of Barr, court records show.

OSBI agent Brian Exinia conducted the investigation of the scene and observed an X-ray of the gunshot wound to Barr’s chest. It was his determination the story Sherwood told of the incident did not match the forensic evidence. The X-ray showed the pellets from the shell were in the lower portion of Barr’s abdomen, indicating a downward trajectory, which contradicts what Sherwood said of the gun being pointed upward at the time of the alleged shooting, according to court records.

In a second interview of Sherwood, he said he had been shooting the 410 shotgun since he was about 6 or 7 years old. He again said the gun was allegedly pointed upward when it went off and Barr was standing outside the motel room door, according to court records.

According to Sherwood’s Facebook page, he and Barr were in a relationship.

Sherwood is being held at the Custer County Jail with a $1 million bond. He has previous felony charges in Beckham County from 2014 of possession of controlled dangerous substances, and domestic assault and battery in the presence of minors to which he pleaded guilty in 2015, court records show.

He also has a previous misdemeanor charge in Custer County of assault and battery from February of this year. Contrary to what other Oklahoma media outlets have reported, the previous incident did not involve Barr. During that incident, Sherwood allegedly assaulted his sister by throwing a toolbox at her, according to court records.