Murder Victim's Family Unhappy With Court

Wednesday, June 10th 2009, 10:52 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The parents of a murdered teen say they're insulted that a judge reduced the charge against the 17-year-old suspect. 

A judge on Tuesday reduced the murder charge against Theo Fleming, meaning if convicted, he'd face less time behind bars.

06/09/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Murder Suspect's Charge Reduced

"I'm sure he regrets, immediately regretted what happened. That doesn't make it an accident," said Jim Finnegan, Kaitlyn's father.  

It's still up in the air whether Fleming will go to trial as an adult or a youthful offender.  If he is tried as a youthful offender, he could face a further reduction in his sentence if he's convicted.

"He performed an adult act. He needs to suffer the adult consequences," said Jeanne Finnegan, Kaitlyn's mother.

Kaitlyn Finnegan's parents say they were confident the evidence would vindicate the charge of first degree murder.

"I'm disappointed.  We're very, very disappointed. I mean, what is premeditation if someone, in this case, this young man, said I'm going to shoot her. I'm going to pop her. To me, that's premeditated," said Jim Finnegan.

They say lost in all this courtroom drama is Kaitlyn's voice.  The voice of a popular high school senior, with an infectious laugh and dreams of becoming a social worker. 

Kaitlyn's mom recently tattooed her daughter's senior photograph on her forearm.

"It's my way of holding her with me, and holding her to me, every day," said Jeanne Finnegan.

At Fleming's court hearing, the seven people inside the house the night of the shooting took the stand.  No one called 911 after the fatal gunshot.

"I cannot believe nobody called 911. Anybody knows to call 911. A two year old knows to call 911," said Jeanne Finnegan.

Mrs. Finnegan says she doesn't want the other witnesses to face charges, but she does want them to come forward and tell the truth.

"She gets to go see him in jail once a week. I get to out to the cemetery, every single day, and look at a headstone," said Jeanne Finnegan.

Theo Fleming is undergoing psychological tests to determine his mental capacity.  He'll be back in court in July to learn whether he'll be tried as an adult or youthful offender.