Tulsa Murder Victim's Family Reacts To Sentencing

Friday, February 27th 2009, 2:43 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa family is praying for closure, now that a judge has sentenced their daughter's killer.

Fifteen-year-old Montoya Harris pleaded no contest in the fatal stabbing of her 13-year-old classmate Sydney Dailey last March.

Montoya is headed to a juvenile facility, but she could be out by her 20th birthday.

Eleven months after her death, Sydney still lives in her bedroom through photographs.

"If I wanna feel closer to her this is where I come," said her mother, Tanikka West. "Even if it's just to sit and look at her."

It is how West likes to see her baby, the smart, happy-go-lucky girl captured forever on film, and not the way she found her that March day almost a year ago -- bleeding in her brother's arms.

"I never thought ... but no parent thinks that," West said. "Not my baby. And to come home and see that. It wasn't like she was in the street or anything. She was at home."       

Sydney's father, Carver West, said he wanted Montoya to plead guilty.

Montoya was sentenced to life, but because she is a youthful offender she will be held only until her 20th birthday if she completes a rehabilitation program.

"Regardless of whatever they done or said in court today, it's still not going to change the fact that my daughter is not here," Tanikka West said.

The Wests say they still have nightmares and think about that day every time they set foot on their porch.

But they vow not to give in to grief.

"(Montoya's) already taken away my daughter's life," Sydney's mother said. "I refuse to let her take mine away, too."

Tanikka West says Sydney is still blessing her through the friends she left behind.

"Even though I lost the daughter that God gave me, all those friends that she had, I'm their mom now," she said.

Tanikka West says she forgives Montoya, even though she says the teenager has never shown any remorse. Montoya had a baby while in jail last September.

1/9/2009 Related story: Trial Date Set For Tulsa Teen Charged With Murder

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