DA Makes Public Appeal In Shooting Of Baby

Friday, March 2nd 2007, 9:06 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater promised Friday to strongly consider leniency in criminal cases facing anyone who might have information about a shooting that left an 8-month-old child seriously wounded.

Prater made a public appeal for information in the case, saying investigators have run out of leads and had asked his office to reach out to the community for help.

He acknowledged holding a news conference during an ongoing investigation is unusual, but said "when babies are involved, when
children are involved, all bets are off."

Isjanna James was listed in critical condition Friday at Children's Hospital at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where she underwent surgery on Monday.

Oklahoma City Council member Willa Johnson joined Prater in the appeal.

"We have an obligation not to kill our children," said Johnson, whose district includes the home that was hit by bullets earlier this week.

Prater said that if anyone involved in the crime has been watching television accounts, "you need to surrender. The only chance you have for leniency is to come forward now."

He said those not involved but fearful of coming forward with information should search their conscience.

"We are talking here about an 8-month-old baby girl, shot in the head while she slept in her crib in the middle of the night.

"There are persons who have information about this crime, perhaps involved themselves, perhaps facing other charges. I am putting them all on notice that I will strongly consider some leniency in the form of plea bargaining if they step forward and do the right thing here.

"On the other hand, when those responsible for this crime are apprehended, I will prosecute to the fullest extent allowable anyone involved, including those who may be helping to conceal evidence about the shooting. I do not believe anyone with a shred of decency in them can withhold information about a crime against such a helpless little victim."

He said he was not promising immunity for any crimes.

The baby was shot about 2:30 a.m. Monday. A bullet pierced the outside wall of the home where she was sleeping, entered the top of her head and came out through her jaw.

Prater said the shooting had the appearance of "a gang-type case" but authorities cannot be positive.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Oklahoma City Crimestoppers at 405-235-7300, the police homicide division at 297-1126 or the district attorney's office at 713-1632.