A Tulsa man was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to a reduced charge in Tulsa’s first homicide of 2016.

Devan Mitchell, 24, was charged with first-degree felony murder and attempted robbery with a firearm in the Jan. 3, 2016, death of 19-year-old Kyle Stapleton.

Mitchell was scheduled to begin a jury trial on Monday, but he reached an agreement with the state and entered a guilty plea Friday to first-degree manslaughter, which resulted in the robbery count being dismissed.

District Judge William LaFortune handed down a 35-year sentence on the manslaughter count, which he said will run concurrently with a four-year prison term he gave Mitchell in an unrelated felony case.

Neither the state nor Mitchell’s attorney, Brian Boeheim, called any outside witnesses at the sentencing, although Mitchell gave a brief statement to the court.

“I do apologize. I didn’t mean for this to happen, and I wish I could take it back,” Mitchell said.

During the hearing, LaFortune read the factual basis for Mitchell’s plea that said he admitted shooting Stapleton “in the heat of passion” during a fight at Stapleton’s residence at the Cobblestone Apartments, 4949 S. 76th East Ave.

The statement indicated Mitchell obtained Stapleton’s gun in the struggle and that he shot Stapleton out of fear but without the intent to kill him.

Jeremy Sykes, 24, testified at Mitchell’s preliminary hearing as a material witness after the state dropped murder and robbery charges against him.

A probable cause affidavit in the case reports Sykes as saying Stapleton tackled Mitchell after Mitchell grabbed Stapleton’s gun and pointed it at him in an attempt to rob him of marijuana. Sykes, according to the affidavit, said he heard a gunshot after exiting Stapleton’s apartment.

Mitchell must serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Samantha Vicent



Twitter: @samanthavicent

Staff Writer

Samantha covers topics including marijuana in Oklahoma, Tulsa County District Court proceedings, law enforcement use of force and the Oklahoma prison system, including the death penalty. Phone: 918-581-8321