Shanks Guilty of Murder, Life Without Parole Recommended

Tuesday, October 19th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa jury found 16-year-old Dylan Shanks guilty on three counts of first degree murder Tuesday afternoon and recommended him to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors had argued that Shanks made choices. The choice to get a gun. The choice to load it. The choice to ambush and kill his parents. They said it couldn't be written off as a passionate or spur of the moment crime due to the fact that four hours later, and 20 miles away, he made the choice to kill his girlfriend’s grandfather.

A fourth shooting victim, Jackie Smith, feels justice has been done. "I told his attorney that I didn't want him getting out in my lifetime because I would be scared,” she said.

The jury gave prosecutors the verdicts they asked for. However, prosecutors say no one wins in a case like this. “These families will never be the same,” said assistant district attorney Paul Wilkening. “Dylan needed to go away. The jury did the right thing. It was a hard decision."

Shanks's attorneys were saddened by the verdict. They said they did their best to persuade the jury that he was a boy worth saving, a boy strung out on drugs who needed help, not prison. "He's a good boy,” said attorney Rob Ridenour. “He wasn't hurt or beaten. I can only offer the drugs as the reason why this happened.”

The judge told the jury he would follow their recommendation and set the sentencing date for Tuesday, October 26th.