Tulsa Man Accused In Girlfriend's Murder Arrested Out Of State
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Police in Portland, Oregon arrested a Tulsa County murder suspect who has been missing for almost two years.
Charletta Thomas was killed in March 2016. And while her family never gave up hope her boyfriend, Alonzo Kelly, would eventually turn up, they're upset they didn't realize she was a victim of domestic abuse.
“It’s probably one of the best days of my life, to know this guy is off the streets. He's been caught,” said Thomas’ brother, Richard DeBerry.
For two years, DeBerry said he's grieved over his sister. All that time he's regretting not interrupting the domestic violence he didn't quite realize was happening.
“I just hate that it took this to find out he was putting hands on my sister,” he said.
Kelly was arrested Thursday night in a prostitution sting in Portland.
Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies haven't seen Kelly since the murder of Thomas, his former girlfriend. He was charged with first-degree murder in the crime.
Now, with him behind bars, sheriff Vic Regalado wants to make sure everyone dealing with an abusive relationship knows there is help.
“We want to make it clear that there are people and services available if you need it. So, if you're watching this coverage today and are in an abusive relationship, you have a way out,” Regalado said.
Thomas' family stood with the sheriff at a news conference Friday, urging abuse victims to get help.
“When they start it, you need to get out of it. Once you take those first few licks, they're not going to stop because they feel like it's okay,” DeBerry said.
Thomas was 45, with children and brothers and sisters, but didn't reach out for help. Her family hopes their experience will encourage someone to make a different choice.
There's a Family Safety Center in Tulsa that offers one-stop help for victims. Law enforcement agencies can help too.