Tulsa Mother Makes Plea To Help Solve Son's Murder

Friday, February 18th 2011, 7:20 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- It's a case that shocked Tulsa, not because it involved a murder, but because of what people did afterward.

Tony Verner was shot and killed at the Chicken Hut in front of about 100 people, but no one helped him and some even stepped over him to get their food orders.

It's been nearly a year and witnesses still aren't talking.

Tony Verner loved sports when he was a boy. He talked his mom into letting him take tae kwon do lessons and later played baseball and football.

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright asked if he was the quiet one or the boisterous one of the family.

"He wasn't the quiet kid," Oretha Verner, Tony's mother, said laughing.

Tony went to Central High and grew up to love working on cars and was the father of two young sons.

On February 28, 2010, he went to the Chicken Hut to grab some dinner when he was shot and killed. Police say about 100 people were there and not one person helped him.

3/1/2010 Related Story: Sister Of Tulsa Homicide Victim Angry Due To Lack Of Information

That breaks his mother's heart.

"So unfeeling. They never stopped serving food. The people never stopped walking, walking over him to eat," Oretha said. "How could you even think about eating when someone's lying there in need of medical attention?"

Tony's family hopes someone will now have the courage to get information to police, either directly or anonymously through Crime Stoppers or even second hand through a minister or friend.

They understand catching the killer won't bring Tony back, but it will give them peace.

"After so much time has gone by, maybe they feel bad they didn't come forward, could be one of the things, but stand up at some point and do the right thing," Oretha said.

She says if people don't work with police rather than standby by in silence, next time, it will be someone else's son, brother or nephew. Tony's murder has changed her life and certainly that of his boys.

"I think often Tony won't be here to teach them how to be a man, teach them to fish, teach them to hunt, teach them to drive," Oretha said.

Oretha never dreamed she would outlive her son and now her only hope is that his killer will be brought to justice.

If you have information that could help catch Tony's killer, call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS.

Tony's family is holding a candlelight vigil this Sunday, February 20, 2011 at St. Lukes Baptist Church located at 2607 North Rockford Avenue in Tulsa.  The vigil starts at 6 p.m.