Tulsa plaza shooting suspect pleads not guilty

January 30, 2013 - 1:31 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A 24-year-old man accused in a shooting at a crowded Tulsa plaza last year that injured a sheriff's deputy and a bystander on Wednesday pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Andrew Dennehy is charged with shooting with intent to kill and firearms counts in the March 7 incident. Attorney Allen Smallwood entered the plea in district court on Dennehy's behalf, saying he would soon file motions to support the insanity defense.

A jury trial is set for Oct. 7. Dennehy could face life in prison if convicted.

Dennehy's family and attorneys say he's a paranoid schizophrenic plagued by bizarre thoughts and delusions. Prosecutors say Dennehy is bluffing and understands the charges against him.

Prosecutors allege Dennehy wandered barefoot into the plaza between the Tulsa County courthouse and Tulsa Central Library and fired a handgun — sending people fleeing in panic and injuring the deputy and bystander.

Dennehy was also wounded when deputies arrived and returned fire.

At a hearing in October, three sheriff's deputies testified that they yelled at Dennehy to drop his gun, but that he wheeled around brandishing a revolver and shot in their direction.

At a competency hearing in August, Smallwood told jurors that Dennehy thought he was being followed by members of a secret society that was conspiring to wage war on true Christians. He said Dennehy believed the group was going to kill Christians in vast caverns under Denver International Airport.

Prosecutors told jurors they believe Dennehy was bluffing about his alleged hallucinations, and jurors agreed, finding him mentally fit to stand trial.