Tulsa Teens Charged In Woman's Carjacking Death Will Go To Trial

Wednesday, August 15th 2012, 11:41 am
By: News On 6

Two Tulsa teenagers are heading to trial for the carjacking death of a Tulsa Public Schools employee.

Now, one of the murder suspects is hoping to reach a plea deal before a jury gets involved.

After five hours and eight witness testimonies, a judge ruled Wednesday that there is enough evidence against Brandon Maxwell and Destin Rodriguez to go to trial.

The family of Avonna Olson left the courtroom relieved that the case is moving forward.

It's been five months since the 45-year-old wife, mother and grandmother, was killed trying to stop a car thief from taking her minivan.

Brandon Maxwell and Destin Rodriguez are both charged with second degree murder and stealing a car. Maxwell is also charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Avonna's husband testified she started the van to warm it up, then went back outside when they both heard the engine revving minutes later.

3/11/2012 Related Story: Second Teen Arrested In Tulsa Fatal Car Theft

They ran outside and he testified that the van hit Avonna as she tried to confront the thief. He said she was dragged about 40 yards.

"I went up to her body and patted her cheek and called her name. Then I checked for a pulse and she didn't have one." he said.

Investigators say Brandon Maxwell was driving the van and his attorney says he wanted to waive his right to a preliminary hearing to spare Avonna's family.

His attorney is hoping for a plea deal in the future.

"Mr. Maxwell, from day one, has had extreme remorse. He feels absolutely horrible that his actions caused this family to lose someone," said Maxwell's defense attorney, Shea Burgess.

Investigators say Destin Rodriguez dropped off Maxwell in a park by the Olson's neighborhood and they believe he stayed in his car the entire time.

Rodriguez's defense attorney, Kristen Bernhardt said, "The only evidence that was before the court was that he had this other gentleman was in his vehicle and that he let the other gentleman out when the other gentleman asked to be let out. That's all."

Neither defense attorney called any witnesses to the stand.

Brandon Maxwell is also charged with stealing another vehicle after ditching the victim's van.

The next court appearance for both suspects is August 27.