Teen sentenced to 10 years in fatal stabbing

Tuesday, April 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County judge has sentenced a Sperry teen-ager to 10 years in prison for fatally stabbing a fellow high school student last year.

Brandon Clay Stewart pleaded guilty March 2 to first-degree murder in the death of Brenton Epperly, 16. A court certified Stewart as a youthful offender, meaning the maximum sentence he could get was 10 years.

After pronouncing sentence on Monday, District Judge J. Michael Gassett ordered Stewart, 15, to return Oct. 1 for a review of how well he was doing under a treatment plan developed by the state Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Stewart stabbed Epperly in the chest with a knife on Oct. 16 outside a residence in north Tulsa. Both boys were Sperry High School students.

Stewart had disciplinary problems at school and was suspended three times and once threatened to blow up the principal's car, authorities said.

He was a ward of the state of Nebraska and underwent treatment there after he tried to choke his grandmother.

A psychologist testified that Stewart's problems included fetal alcohol syndrome, major depression, provisional paranoid schizophrenia, substance abuse and chemical dependency.

Stewart will be moved from the Tulsa Jail to the Lloyd E. Rader Center in Sand Springs, where youths receive intensive treatment in a secure environment, said Brian Aspan, Stewart's lawyer.

Stewart can only remain in the custody of Juvenile Affairs until he is 19, but if he has not successfully completed his treatment, he may be ``bridged'' over to the Department of Corrections for completion of the 10-year term.