A Tulsa Teen Accused In A Deadly Car Accident Goes Before A Judge

Tuesday, October 24th 2006, 6:10 am
By: News On 6

A 15 year old Tulsa girl accused of killing an 11 year old boy. She's now been charged in Tulsa County juvenile court, which is more lenient than the original decision. The victim's family feels she's getting off too easy, yet others feel she's still being treated too harshly.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says this case has no easy answers. A little boy is dead and balance must be found between punishing the girl who took his life and giving her a chance to turn her life around. And charges of racism have added a whole new element.

The scene of the accident in east Tulsa was horrible, a 15 year old girl driving a speeding car, through a neighborhood, her 14 year old brother, four year old niece and 16 year old friend in the car with her. She loses control, swerves into a yard and kills an 11 year old boy, who was doing nothing more than mowing the family yard, his mother inside ironing clothes for church.

Fabian’s mother Lupe Saenz: "When I looked at him, his leg was broken and his head was split open and that can never be erased from my mind."

The girl was originally charged with second-degree murder as a youthful offender, a middle ground between being handled as a juvenile and an adult. Many people started saying she was treated more harshly than white teens in Jenks involved in a similar case. Joyce Rogers with the NAACP: "I'm not saying she shouldn't be punished, but, whatever is done to the boys, she should get the same punishment because someone was killed in both cars."

The Tulsa County DA denies race is a factor, but decides to drop the case to juvenile court, where the girl will likely get a counseling program rather than any jail time. They say the change happened when they learned the girl was a good candidate to be rehabilitated.

Where does that leave Fabian's family? They pray for the girl's family, but think it's wrong she won't serve any time. Fabian’s father Armando Saenz: "I don't have much to say but, I feel angry and it has nothing to do with racism. I love every race." They say it feels like people care more about the girl who did this, than their little boy, who loved his church, schools and family.

The day Fabian died, he had written an essay at school about taking responsibility when you do something wrong. He'd also written an essay about stopping crime and said he wanted to be remembered as a funny boy who loved his mom and dad.

The girl's next court date is November 7th, but we'll likely not know what happens, now that she's in Tulsa County juvenile court.