8-5-05 - After deliberating for less than 3 hours, a Pontotoc County jury reached a verdict in the murder trial of Ammon Reich. They found the Ada man guilty of 2nd degree murder. The jury also found him guilty of 32 counts of assault, recommending 10 years in prison on each count.
He was part of a hit-and-run accident that killed Joseph Tusan last September. Prosecutors say he forced the pick-up that Tusan and 10 others were riding in off the road by rear-ending it three times. The accident came after several confrontations along the Canadian River. Students from East Central got into verbal and physical confrontations with Reich, his friends and family. At times, racial slurs and taunts were directed toward the ECU students.
During the 3rd and final day of testimony, the defense team called an accident reconstruction expert as well as Reich. The expert testified that the wreck could have been a simple accident caused by the pick-up in front braking suddenly. As for Reich, he admitted to chasing the pick-up at a high rate of speed but said he was only trying to scare the teenagers. He also said he left the scene after the accident and didn't call 911 because he didn't think anyone was hurt.
Tusan was crushed under the tailgate of the pick-up while one of his friends was paralyzed. Several others were injured.
Several teenagers testified on Thursday that they fought with some of the black students from East Central at times using racial slurs. Shelly Reich, the wife of the accused, took the stand for over two and half hours. During her testimony she admitted that Ammon and his two daughters made racist comments as they returned to the family home to retrieve guns and return to the River.
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