Jury Excused, Trial Delayed For Tulsa Teen Accused Of Murdering His Mother

Wednesday, May 21st 2014, 12:32 pm
By: Richard Clark

A judge excused the jury and delayed the trial of a Tulsa teenager accused of beating his mother to death.

Henry "Hank" Laird is charged with beating his 56-year-old mother to death with the butt of a shotgun in her south Tulsa home on January 22, 2013.

On Wednesday, Judge William Musseman delayed the trial, saying to proceed would be to violate Laird's constitutional rights. The jug de is concerned at the sentence a first degree murder charge carries since Laird was only 17 when he's accused of committing his crime.

The judge cited Miller v. Alabama, a Supreme Court case that ruled mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.

The case ruled the immaturity and impulsivity of a young defendant when considering their punishment. The judge also mentioned Laird's damaged relationship with his attorney.

"I think that to go forward at this point would be in error," the judge said.

On Tuesday the 18-year-old defendant rejected a plea deal, requested a new lawyer and was then ordered to wear a device that would allow deputies to shock him if he misbehaved in court.

5/20/2014: Related Story: Judge Calls Murder Defendant A 'Danger To The Courtroom'

Earlier on Tuesday Laird's attorney recommended his client accept a plea deal offered by the District Attorney's office.

On Wednesday, as he excused the jury, the judge said he hoped Laird and his attorney could repair their damaged relationship.

Laird will be in court again in June, and the new trial is set for September 15, 2014.