Tulsa Police on Friday announced the arrest of a man in conjunction with the homicide of a 17-year-old girl who was shot and killed while riding in a car.
TPD announced in a Friday news conference they have arrested 24-year-old Edwin Jermaine Daniels in the case, and an arrest report says a witness told police the murder was a case of mistaken identity in a gang-related hit.
Kayla Ferrante was murdered May 26 when Tulsa Police say someone with a high-powered rifle fired into a car being driven by her boyfriend.
Ferrante graduated from Memorial High School the night before she was gunned down.
Tulsa police said it was a huge team effort that led to Daniels' arrest. A break in the case came last week after three men broke into a home and stole an ATM card and two vehicles, police said.
That investigation led them to Daniels.
An arrest report obtained by News On 6 sheds more light on the case.
According to the report, investigators interviewed a witness on Thursday who provided the following information:
The report went on to say that two weeks after the first conversation and alleged admittance of guilt, the witness said he/she observed Daniels digging a hole in the backyard of his aunt's home in the 1000 block of North Norfolk Avenue. The witness reported asking Daniels what he was doing and "Daniels told them he was getting rid of the gun," the report said. Daniels was seen placing a rifle with a brown stock in the hole and burying it with dirt," the report said.
Investigators went to the location and "recovered a scoped SKS assault rifle that fires 7.62X39-caliber rounds," the report said. Crime scene detectives recovered six spent shell casings of the same caliber the night of the murder.
"We recovered several weapons, whether they're linked to the murder is up to forensics," TPD Sgt. Dave Walker said.
Daniels has been booked for Ferrante's murder and for shooting with intent to kill, since her boyfriend was in the car, and with three counts of armed robbery in a separate case.
TPD is being very tight-lipped about this case, because the investigation is still ongoing.
"We're still working on the motive," Sgt. Walker said. "We've looked at all angles, from mistaken identity, to some other reason, not going into that, because it could easily change."
After attending at graduation party at her grandmother's house, Kayla went with her boyfriend, Neikko Perez, to his brother's house to watch TV.
Because Perez's car was blocked in when he needed to take Ferrante home, rather than have friends move their cars, he just borrowed one to go the one mile to her house, otherwise, they never would've been in a Cadillac that night.
Perez was taking Ferrante home a little before midnight, and they were nearly to her driveway, when the shots rang out. One bullet went through the license plate, through both seats, and out Kayla's chest.
Her mother, Roxanne Thornton, ran out and held her hand over Ferrante's heart to try to stop the bleeding, while begging her to stay alive.
Her parents thanked the police for their hard work and the community for all the support.
"It's been very heartwarming to see the community coming together to support Kayla the way they have," Thornton said.
They've been holding fundraisers to raise money for a reward fund.
Police said the reward fund did not play a part in the arrest, but the money will go to support causes Ferrante loved and supported.
Daniels has a criminal past, and has previously been convicted of misdemeanor weapons charges. He currently has cases pending and also has had miscellaneous drug, weapons, larceny and traffic cases that were later dismissed.