Tulsa teen accused in mother's death has history of violence
BY AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 6:59 AM
A 17-year-old who is accused of beating his mother to death was adjudicated as a delinquent in three domestic assault-and-battery cases in which his mother was the victim, court records show.
Tulsa police arrested Henry David "Hank" Laird on Wednesday after a 28-hour manhunt. A warrant was issued for his arrest after his mother, 56-year-old Linda Laird, was found beaten to death at the foot of a staircase in their home near 74th Street and Urbana Avenue.
Also arrested early Wednesday was Josiah Israel Sklar, 19, who told detectives he witnessed the attack, in which he said Hank Laird struck his mother about 20 times with the butt of a shotgun around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
"People have told us (Hank Laird) is kind of a violent fella," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker. "We've confirmed that through other sources and through his criminal history."
Hank Laird was charged and adjudicated as a delinquent by the Juvenile Bureau of Tulsa County District Court. The cases involved domestic assault and battery for assaults on his mother in April 2012 and October 2011, according to court documents obtained by the Tulsa World. He was also adjudicated on the same type of charge in a Wagoner County case in April 2011.
The Tulsa County assaults occurred in the same home on Urbana Avenue where Linda Laird was killed, records show.
"It's almost a sad commentary, because she could have gotten away from him at any time and kept bringing him back. It's a typical domestic violence cycle," Walker said.
Detectives said Hank Laird was not currently enrolled in school and that people associated with Linda Laird said she was scared of her son.
Hank Laird told a probation counselor he had anger management problems and would "black-out from abusing alcohol," according to a treatment plan filed with the court in July.
He also reportedly "expressed love for his mother and appeared to express sincere remorse," the counselor wrote.
A service report filed by probation officials on Jan. 9 recommended that Hank Laird's probation be "closed unsuccessfully."
The counselor who authored the report indicated that Laird had not harmed his mother in more than eight months but had failed to comply with his probation. Linda and Hank Laird failed to appear for a Jan. 14 court date, and a review hearing was rescheduled for April.
Police responded to domestic disturbances at the Lairds' home twice in October 2011 and once in May 2012, Police Department data show.
One of the disturbances occurred the same day officers took a runaway report from the home. An automobile was stolen from the home in July, but officers were dispatched the next day for a report of property found, records show.
A former nearby neighbor who asked not to be identified said she and her family moved out of their home because of Hank Laird.
She said he once shot paintballs at contractors at her house and often had friends over who would cause trouble in the neighborhood.
The former neighbor said there were ongoing incidents at the home that involved the police.
She said she spoke to Linda Laird after several of the incidents and was told sparse details.
Laird once told the former neighbor that her son had broken her arm.
"He seemed like a normal kid at first, but he had troubles," she said.
"She (Laird) had assured me he would not hurt anyone else but her. ... We never knew what was going on at the house."
After one incident with the police, the former neighbor said she talked with an officer to ask what was going on, and he told her to just stay away from the family.
"We just always kind of suspected that his crime activity would get worse," she said, but "we never, never thought that he would do this."
Sklar and Hank Laird fled the Lairds' home after Linda Laird's parents came to check on her and found her body about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
Fugitive warrants detectives located Sklar that afternoon. He was questioned and arrested on a complaint of first-degree murder. He has not been formally charged.
Police apprehended Hank Laird at a home in the 5600 block of South Boston Avenue around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Walker said the residents of that home had a "weak" association with Hank Laird.
"They all knew him as a friend of somebody else," Walker said.
"He just appeared, and they all just kind of withstood it, I guess."
Sklar completed a misdemeanor alternate program after he was charged with larceny from a retailer in 2011, his juvenile records show.
State law requires the release of juvenile court and law enforcement records in cases involving juveniles who face charges of murder and other serious crimes.
World staff writer Jarrel Wade contributed to this story.
Original Print Headline: Teen has history of violence
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Henry David Laird: He is accused in connection with the beating death of his mother, Linda Laird.
Linda Laird was found beaten to death in this house in the 7400 block of South Urbana Avenue on Tuesday, and police have arrested her 17-year-old son. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World