Tulsa Teen Charged With 1st Degree Murder

Monday, April 13th 2009, 12:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Jenks teen is charged with first-degree murder.  On Monday, 17-year-old Theo Fleming was charged as an adult in the shooting death of Kaitlyn Finnegan.  She was six weeks away from her high school graduation when she was killed earlier this month.  Tulsa County prosecutors say the evidence shows that the shooting was a deliberate act.

Tulsa Police say Bishop Kelley senior Kaitlyn Finnegan, Jenks sophomore Theo Fleming and a handful of other friends were hanging out at a house.  Police say Fleming had a loaded gun which he pointed at Finnegan, and then pulled the trigger.   

4/8/2009  Related Story: Bishop Kelley Senior Laid To Rest

Prosecutors say the shooting was intentional.

"I've reviewed the facts and the evidence, and I've made the decision I think is warranted by the evidence," said Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Bill Musseman.

Fleming's charged with murder in the first degree.  Because of the severity of the charge, Fleming will be tried as an adult and could face life in prison.

"I'm very confident in the DA and the police department and I believe this charge fits the crime," said Kaitlyn's father, Jim Finnegan.

Fleming's attorney says the gunshot was a tragic accident.  Thomas Mortensen says the two were close friends who had recently begun dating.  He says before the gunshot, everyone in the house was playing around.  Mortensen says he was surprised when he read the charge.

"I think that this charge was filed out of the emotional impact of this case, certainly there's a lot of emotion here. But, examining the evidence, I don't believe there's any indication the charge is appropriate," said Fleming's attorney Thomas Mortensen.

Kaitlyn's parents say the murder charge is an important first step.  But, it's a hollow victory.  They're still mourning the loss of a young woman, taken too soon.          

Fleming appeared to the charges via closed-circuit television from jail.  Theo Fleming's preliminary hearing is scheduled for early June at the Tulsa County Courthouse.