By Mindy Ragan Wood
A Canadian County jury found a man guilty in the fiery deaths of two Yukon teens and recommended a life in prison sentence.
The jury returned its verdict on the second-degree murder charges and recommended sentence to District Judge Paul Hesse. Jurors were given the option of considering manslaughter which would have had a lighter sentence.
Southwest Covenant Christian School graduates Luke Ross and Sean Tucker were home for Christmas break on December 16, 2017. The two best friends were stopped at the intersection of NW 150th and Sara Road near Piedmont when David Christopher Cochlin’s car crashed into the back of their vehicle.
Oklahoma City firefighters and police officers found the two dead at the scene, their car engulfed in flames. Cochlin recovered from his injuries and was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Investigators determined Cochlin was driving at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. He was denied bail after evidence was presented that Cochlin had been arrested twice for drunk driving. During the bail hearing, two Oklahoma City police officers testified at the bail hearing and presented evidence that Cochlin may have been drinking and driving after the accident.
Earlier this year his attorney Scott Adams tried to suppress evidence regarding his blood alcohol level which was found to be .208 and included oxycontin and oxymorphone.
Canadian County District Judge Paul Hess declined the motion to suppress the evidence.
The jury returned its verdict and recommended that Cochlin serve a life sentence. Canadian County Assistant District Attorney Eric Epplin was pleased with the verdict.
“The defendant’s actions were frustratingly senseless, extremely reckless, and completely avoidable,” Epplin said in a prepared statement. “The Oklahoma City Police Department Fatality Collision Unit and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab should be commended for the outstanding work they did on this case. By their verdict, the jury left no doubt that our community will not tolerate this sort of behavior. Though this verdict will not end the agony that the families of Luke Ross and Sean Tucker have felt since December 15, 2017, I hope the defendant being held accountable for his actions brings some measure of peace.”
Attempts to reach Southwest Covenant Christian School Headmaster Steve Lessman were not successful.