On August 22, a 14-year-old boy walked into a Vinita police station and told police that he had shot his stepmother. Police responding to the teen's home found the body of Laura Beth Hendrix, 38, dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.
First Degree Murder Charges of Oklahoma Teen
The teen called the woman his stepmother, but an obituary referred to her as his father's fiancee, according to a local report.
In confessing to the shooting, the teen allegedly told police that he was "tired of the abuse," and accused the woman of sexually assaulting him. He told police that he shot Hendrix as she walked out of a bathroom and down a hall, saying he believed she was coming to molest him. He then allegedly asked, "But that's not a very good reason, is it?"
Reporters say DHS, citing confidentiality, would not say whether or not the agency had investigated the home for suspicion of abuse, and police did not respond to a request for information about whether any other crimes had been reported at the home.
Now, the teen has been charged with first degree murder in the death of the woman.
Craig County court records indicate that Koalten Glenn Orr, 14, is charged as an adult with first degree murder, but ordered to be housed separately from adult offenders.
Youthful Offender Laws in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, minors accused of crimes may be charged one of three ways, depending on the age of the offender and the specific crime of which he or she is accused. If the minor is under the age of 18 and the crime is a misdemeanor or nonviolent crime, the child or teen will likely be prosecuted as a juvenile through the juvenile justice system. Rather than being "convicted" of a crime, the juvenile would be adjudicated delinquent.
If the child is aged 15, 16, or 17, and the crime is a more serious offense, the teen would be prosecuted as a "youthful offender," a distinction which allows for more stringent punishment than a delinquent adjudication, but also for more opportunities for rehabilitation than an adult conviction. See our explanation of youthful offender crimes.
In Oklahoma, only minors accused of first degree murder (or minors who have previously been tried as adults) may be charged as adults. Teenagers aged 13 through 17 accused of first degree murder are automatically to be charged as adults; however, younger teens (aged 13 or 14) may be reverse certified as youthful offenders in some circumstances. It seems likely that given Orr's age and his professed motive, an attorney would try to get the boy certified as a youthful offender rather than as an adult.
The teen's case is set on the preliminary hearing sounding docket for September 30.
Get in touch with The Law Offices of Adam R. Banner for immediate legal counsel.