McAlester Mother Fights To Keep Son’s Accused Murderer Locked Up

Wednesday, September 30th 2015, 8:45 pm
By: Tess Maune

A McAlester mother is fighting to keep a man connected to her son's murder in a mental facility.

Court records say Jerrod Murray confessed to the murder of East Central University student Generro Sanchez in 2012.

In July, Murray was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Now one psychiatrist’s report states he's no longer dangerous or mentally ill.

7/17/2015 Related Story: ECU Student Found Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity For Killing Classmate

Sanchez’s mother is concerned over whether a judge will be forced to release a murder suspect found not guilty by reason of insanity.

When asked about her son Generro Sanchez, “Oh Lordy, where to start?” is the first response you will get. And then Jeana West will gush about her youngest child.

“He was my baby,” West said. “He was a good boy. He liked to help out wherever he could. He was an A student. He was on the quiz bowl team, the academic's team and one of three co-captains for the basketball team.”

Sanchez loved the guitar so much, he taught himself how to play, she said. And his dream was to be an aquatic engineer one day.

“He kept saying we're using up all the earth. There's only one place to go. There's only one place to go on earth and that's in the water,” West said.

Sanchez grew up in McAlester until his family moved 20 miles west, to Stuart, in sixth grade. He left for Ada to start his freshman year of college at ECU in 2012. In a cell phone video his mom recorded, Sanchez joked about moving away.

“I'm gonna miss you,” West told her son.

“Of course you're gonna miss me. Everyone's gonna miss me. I'd miss me if I were gone, too,” Sanchez replied.

Those words now haunt Sanchez’s mother because, just a few months later, her son was shot to death on a dirt road.

“Right after Thanksgiving, right after, that Monday following; and it was just a few days later that I was told he was killed,” she said.

Court papers state another ECU student, Jerrod Murray, asked Sanchez to give him a ride to Walmart for $20 and Sanchez agreed. Once in the truck, Murray pulled out a stolen handgun and forced the victim to drive into the country and then shot him multiple times.

Court records say Murray told investigators he wanted to see what it felt like to kill someone.

“The entire time my son was scared to death and begging for his life, and I didn't know it. Momma didn't know it. Momma couldn't protect her son,” West said.

An affidavit said Murray confessed to the murder but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was committed to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita this July, and that's where Sanchez’s mother hopes Murray stays.

But a psychiatric review filed with the court has her concerned. One doctor said, in part, "While Mr. Murray's history suggests he has a mental illness…he does not presently exhibit any substantial signs of mental illness and he is not considered to be a present danger to the public."

“I'm mad,” West said. “I'm very mad.”

However, a review by a different psychiatrist stated Murray is considered dangerous to the public peace and safety and should remain at the Oklahoma Forensic Center for treatment.

A judge has requested evaluations by two more experts. West said if those psychiatrists say Murray is not a threat to society, he could be set free.

“He'll do it again and get away with it because he got away with it once,” West said.

And that’s something she simply won't stand for.

“I will be there every step of the way, making sure that I'm heard for Generro, that his voice is heard through me. I'll make sure of that,” West said.

“It ought to be up to the jury, it ought to be up to the courts, it ought to be up to justice to ensure he doesn't get back out again,” said Richard Smothermon, District Attorney for Pottawatomie County where the murder occurred.

Smothermon said he has already approached his local legislator to write a bill to change the law so they could find someone guilty but insane, which would allow for mental treatment then prison time for those convicted.

West has started both a written and online petition to do the same and has already collected more than 1,000 signatures.

“I can't do anything about this case, but the DA and I are working on getting the NGRI law abolished so that from here on out, another parent doesn't have to worry about this,” West said.