Updated: Mar 16
Markita King, 22, had moved from OKC to Tulsa, apparently "to get away" from 23-year-old Edwin Dewayne Bell, her ex boyfriend. Markita had moved to Tulsa three months earlier to live with her aunt, Fannie King. She had hoped the miles would be a buffer from the violence she had suffered at his hand. Her family had hoped that, too. She had been living in Oklahoma City with Bell and his mother, Linda Farris, 45, at his mother's home.
So why was she running from him?
Along with prolonged domestic violence, Authorities said Bell shot King in the leg in October 1994 at their Oklahoma City residence in what the two told police was an accident. Police confiscated the weapon, and King told police she didn't want any charges filed, and so Bell was not arrested. Records show Bell was arrested on a slew of complaints in Midwest City on April 6, 1997. The complaints included assault and battery, carrying a gun and a knife, driving under the influence, trespassing and carrying an open container of alcohol. The DUI charge was reduced to reckless driving, and Bell paid a $221 fine. The assault charge was reduced to disorderly conduct, and Bell paid a $272 fine. The other complaints were dismissed.
She did NOT have a protective order. Police Told King that the distance would "probably be enough."
February 12th 1999 Police said Bell and his mother had traveled together from Oklahoma City to visit the children.
Markita was preparing her children, Ebonie, 4, Essynce, 2, and Marjonna, 8 months, to be picked up by their father.
"The night before, she was combing the girls' hair and getting their bags ready. They were supposed to stay with him for two weeks. That night I helped Ebonie and her little friend make valentines for Ebonie's Daddy and her Grandma Linda and her Grandpa," Fannie King said.
"Knowing Ebonie, she probably handed it to him when he got to the door that morning."
"I left for work that morning, and the baby had been sleeping with me, so I got up and told Markita I was leaving and she needed to go get the baby," Fannie King said. "I told her good-bye, and that was the last I said to her." Bell arrived with his mother, Linda Farris, the morning of Feb. 12. Sometime before 10 a.m. he killed Markita, all three girls and his mother and then turned the gun on himself in the apartment at 1925 N. Gary Ave. Each was killed in the living room with a 9mm pistol. Police said Bell and Farris were sitting on the couch with one of the children. King and the other two children were lying on the living room floor in front of the couch. Investigators think Bell shot his estranged girlfriend, their children and his own mother before turning the gun on himself, Tulsa police officer Andy Phillips said. "The information we had is that he came over to pick the children up and it happened then," Phillips said. "There are bodies all over the room. I don't think they had a chance." The shootings took place in a small, one-story apartment in north Tulsa. It did not appear that there had been a struggle or that anyone had attempted to flee the apartment, he said. Authorities believe it was a murder-suicide because the gun was near the father's body. Witnesses heard gunshots, The shootings occurred between 6 and 10 a.m., and the bodies were discovered by King's sister, who became concerned when the woman did not answer her telephone Friday morning, he said. Markita King’s sister went to the apartment about 10:30 a.m. to check on the family because she had known that Bell was coming and feared for their safety. She saw a motionless baby on the floor and fled to call the police. Chilling police radio dispatches revealed the discovery of one body after another. Fannie said someone called her at work and told her of the homicides. "They said to come, and they said they were all dead," Fannie said. "Every time the phone rings at work now, I get butterflies. It is just like flashbacks." Like Fannie, each family member remembers the last time he or she talked to Markita and the children, and their last plans with her are forever frozen in their minds. "She was supposed to pick me up that weekend because the family was going to have a barbecue," said Joel Roberson, who at age 15 is Markita's youngest sibling in Tulsa. "But she never came." Markita was the oldest of six children born to Patricia King, who died at age 24. Fannie King helped raise the children after her sister's death. Maurice King, now the eldest of Patricia's children, moved to a house that faces the apartment where his sister was killed. From his front window, he can see the building that was once surrounded by yellow police tape, officers, multiple television satellite trucks and reporters from across the state. "I thought about it for the longest time before I moved, but I am OK with it," Maurice King said. "After this, it made me think more about how I was going to die. I started going to the shooting range and taking gun classes. "My mother died when she was 24, and my sister was 22," Maurice said. "I am just wondering, who is going to make it to 25? Will it be me?" Maurice keeps a lot of things around him that remind him of Markita and the girls. He named his son Marjon, after Marjonna, the youngest killed. The baby boy was born exactly one month after the killings. "He reminds me of her a lot. He does a lot of the same things that she did," Maurice said. "He is always happy, just like she was." "...I would have gladly given my life for four," Maurice said of his sister and her children's deaths.
If you are in need of support for Domestic Violence, you can go to www.thehotline.org/ where you can live chat, you can text START to 88788 or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).