Attorney Says Student's Death Was An Accident

Tuesday, April 7th 2009, 5:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The attorney for the 17-year-old accused in the murder of Bishop Kelley senior Kaitlyn Finnegan speaks out.  He says his client is devastated by the death of a former girlfriend and close friend.

Theo Fleming's attorney admits his client pointed a loaded gun at Kaitlyn Finnegan and pulled the trigger.  He calls it a tragic accident.

"Just prior, seconds prior, to the gunshot going off, both Theo and the victim were laughing, giggling, and playing around," said Fleming's attorney Thomas Mortensen.

He says Fleming and two other teens took her to the hospital.  Fleming came back, and rang the doorbell of Kaitlyn's parents.  He rode with her dad to the hospital, and he says Fleming told him a story about a drive-by shooting.

"He just looked me in the eye and lied," said Kaitlyn's father, Jim Finnegan.

Fleming was arrested on a complaint of first-degree murder.  And, the other people in the house could also face charges.

Mortensen was asked why no one in the house called 911 after the gun was fired.

"These are all high school kids; maybe they should have called 911. They thought that the situation demanded immediate attention," said attorney Thomas Mortensen.

"You know, six year olds do that. So these 17, 18, 19 year old kids knew exactly what they should do, they chose not to do it. That was a conscious decision," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff.

Tulsa Police say they want to see the witnesses held accountable for their inaction.

Fleming's attorney says after the gunshot Fleming was in shock.

"This gunshot was not the result of any kind of fight, any kind of argument," said attorney Thomas Mortensen.  "I don't know what I would say if I were to look in the eyes of a parent, and inform them that I just accidentally shot someone."

No charges have been filed and police say the investigation could go on for another week.

Kaitlyn Finnegan's funeral is Wednesday afternoon at St. Pius Church in Tulsa.

That is also when Theo Fleming is scheduled to be in court for a bond reduction hearing.  His attorney says he'll try to move that hearing to early next week out of respect.

The landlord of the home where the shooting happened told The News On 6 she had rented the house to a single mother with four children.  But on Saturday, the day the shooting happened, was when they were scheduled to move out.

04/07/2009  Related Story: Funeral Arrangements For Bishop Kelley Senior