Teen charged with murder
BY NICOLE MARSHALL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
4/15/09 at 6:53 AM
Tulsa County prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge Monday against a Tulsa teenager in the shooting death of a Tulsa woman.
Theo Fleming, 17, a student at Jenks High School, was arrested April 4 on an allegation that he shot Kaitlyn Finnegan, 18, a Bishop Kelley High School student. The shooting took place at a house at 5837 S. 94th East Place, police said.
Fleming initially told police that he and two other people took Finnegan to a hospital after she was wounded in a drive-by shooting while walking a dog. When police could find no evidence of a shooting at the location he showed them, he told officers that he accidentally shot her at the house, the arrest report shows.
The investigation eventually revealed that Fleming had been involved in a fight a day or two before the shooting, Sgt. Mike Huff said. Facial bruises that can be seen in Fleming's Tulsa Jail mug shot were caused by that fight.
"It appeared that he had armed himself in order to retaliate in that fight," Huff said. "The young girl was trying to convince him not to retaliate, which upset him, and he ultimately shot her."
Police said that Finnegan and Fleming were friends and that the shooting happened at the home of someone they knew.
Investigators declined to elaborate on details concerning the initial fight between Fleming and another male that apparently prompted Fleming to arm himself with the .22-caliber Beretta automatic pistol.
Huff said that police were investigating where he got the gun.
Assistant District Attorney Bill Musseman said he found sufficient cause to approve the first-degree murder charge based on the evidence presented. That charge is applicable when there is a deliberate intent to take a human life, he said.
Huff said, "Evidence and witnesses will show that this was by nature first-degree murder and in no way an accident and in no way a drive-by shooting, which was told to us by people who sent us on a wild goose chase."
It took several days for the witnesses to come forward and tell the facts of what happened, he said.
"Finally, the witnesses chose to give truthful statements," Huff said.
Fleming's attorney, Thomas Mortensen, has said that he has talked with witnesses and that Fleming and Finnegan were "laughing and playing around" just before the shooting. Mortensen said that his client maintains that the shooting was an accident.
A preliminary hearing for Fleming is set for June 9. Fleming is in jail without bond. Attorneys agreed to postpone a bond hearing — which had been scheduled for Monday — until after the preliminary hearing.
The preliminary hearing provides an opportunity to "get to the truth" and to "sift through all the rumors and innuendoes," Mortensen said.
Nicole Marshall 581-8459
Theo Fleming: He initially falsely told police that the victim was hurt in a drive-by shooting, police reports show.