Transcripts: Judge wanted Fort Gibson shooter punished

Friday, June 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- A 13-year-old boy who injured five Fort Gibson Middle School classmates in a Dec. 6 shooting was put in the custody of juvenile officials -- rather than being treated in a private setting -- because a judge thought he needed to be punished, according to transcripts from a disposition hearing.

"What this child needs to understand is that he stands before this Court guilty of seven extremely serious criminal acts," said Associate District Judge Tom Alford during the disposition hearing.

"Criminal acts which have left scars on the community, scars on the bodies of little children and scars on the emotions of any number of people," Alford continued, "and he must be punished."

The Tulsa World obtained transcripts from the hearing, which included hours of testimony from psychologists and attorneys battling over what was best for convicted shooter Seth Trickey.

Alford found Trickey guilty of six counts of shooting with an intent to kill and one count of carrying a gun on school property.

Despite defense pleas that Trickey suffered from mental illness and should be treated in a private setting, Alford ordered Trickey into the custody of the state Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Alford said he wanted Trickey to comprehend what he had done to his community and recommended that he be sent to the Rader Diagnostic Treatment Center in Sand Springs.

Among those testifying at the hearing was Tulsa psychologist Susan Redwood, who treated Trickey before and after the school shootings. She said she began to treat Trickey in March 1999 because of recurrent migraine headaches.

But over the next year, Redwood said Trickey's condition went from being a pain disorder to "schizoid personality disorder." Redwood said Trickey was an emotionally detached loner who acknowledged he had had both suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

During the May 27 hearing, Redwood pleaded with Judge Alford not to send Trickey to Rader, arguing that the same problems he faced in Fort Gibson would be compounded in the juvenile correctional setting.

"I'm seriously concerned if he's surrounded by aggressive boys, most of whom will be older than he is, that he'll have great difficulty coping," she testified. "He was already having a great deal of difficulty coping in Fort Gibson Middle School, where he knew many of the kids, had known them for a long time, but still felt very different and rejected by them."

Rader administrator Steven Grissom also testified at the hearing and admitted that Trickey would pose a unique challenge to the center.

But he disagreed with Redwood's contention that solitary treatment was the best option.

"Part of his pathology is retreat," Grissom said. "I think, probably, we need to make sure ... his participation is encouraged and reinforced, and that he's able to develop additional skills in dealing with people ... rather than retreating."

Prosecutor Danita Engleman asked Alford to consider the seriousness of the boy's crime and place him into the custody of juvenile officials.

"The elements of this crime -- specifically the aggressiveness of the crime -- it's just in the best interest of this community and of the public as a whole that the juvenile be placed in the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs," Engleman said.

Alford agreed, saying Rader was the best setting in which the boy's mental health could be restored.

"I do hope that the treatment he can get will help him to liv a life where this will never have to happen again," Alford said, "but it has to be the most extreme that is available under this system."