Darcie Anderson made a quick trip to her southeast Tulsa home on Oct. 1, 2017, to make sure her children had lunch before taking one of her daughters to dance practice and picking up her son at church.
Before leaving, she said goodbye to her husband, Shane Anderson, a middle school teacher in Broken Arrow, as he stayed behind grading his students’ assignments.
But when she and her daughter started walking to her car, an unfamiliar teenager, whom she now knows as Deonte Green, was in the front corner of the family’s garage demanding money.
“As soon as I made eye contact with him, he had the gun in my face and told me to get back in the house,” Darcie Anderson said in court Tuesday. Explaining her thought process in the moment, she said: “I’m a retail manager. I thought if I cooperated, everything was gonna be fine.”
Instead, the altercation ended with Shane Anderson dying from a gunshot wound and Green, then 16, facing the possibility of life in prison without parole. He entered blind guilty pleas, or pleas without a sentencing recommendation from a prosecutor, to 20 criminal charges in March.
Among the other charges are allegations that Green kidnapped an elderly man and woman, raped the woman in their home, and tried to force them to withdraw money at a bank ATM.
He is additionally accused of attacking a patron at the same ATM after the elderly couple could not withdraw money, as well as having an altercation with another couple later that day at an entertainment center parking lot.
Green was younger than 18 at the time, but the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office filed notice last year of its intent to ask for a life without parole sentence.
The request meant Green was legally entitled to a specialized sentencing proceeding during which the state could present evidence in hopes that a judge would find him “irreparably corrupt and permanently incorrigible.” The designation is a legal standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court and is used by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for juveniles accused of crimes that carry life without parole as a punishment option.
The finding, which is supposed to consider such factors as amenability to rehabilitation, maturity, family life and past criminal history, must be made before a court can consider imposing life without parole. District Judge Kelly Greenough is expected to announce on Wednesday whether she determined that Green legally meets those criteria before making her sentencing decision.
Greenough heard victim impact statements from Shane Anderson’s family on Tuesday, as well as testimony from law enforcement officers who interacted with Green.
Mario Brown, Green’s stepfather, testified as a witness for Green’s mitigation case.
Green, according to Tulsa police detectives, had already attacked residents at two homes in the area before going to the Andersons’ house around lunchtime Oct. 1, 2017.
Darcie Anderson said her husband simply wanted Green to stop pointing the gun at her, which prompted a struggle over control of the weapon.
The move gave her enough time to lock their daughters in a bathroom.
“A person’s home should be a safe place,” she said. “It was my house, and Deonte stole that sense of safety.”
The Andersons’ oldest daughter read her own statement and described how she and her father had bonded over jiu jitsu lessons, which she stopped taking after his death.
“I feel like I shouldn’t do it without him because it was always our thing,” she said, telling Greenough: “My dad will always be my hero. I will always look up to him, and he will always be my role model.”
Green’s attorneys, Stephen Lee and Mark Cagle, referenced records indicating that Green has an IQ of 59 and suggested that his low intelligence made it difficult for him to understand the consequences of his behavior. A jury evaluated Green’s competency last August and determined that he is legally able to face the charges against him.
Detective Scott Murphy, who interviewed Green during his investigation into the rape allegation, told Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray on Tuesday that Green “seemed like he was able to have a very normal conversation.” He described Green’s demeanor as “very nonchalant, not caring, no remorse.”
When Lee asked Homicide Detective Mark Kennedy whether the crime spree could have been a sign of a mental health issue, Kennedy replied, “I don’t know what it screams mentally. All I know is it’s very violent and a risk to public safety.”
Two Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office detention officers recounted altercations they observed in December — one of which was an attack on another teenager — while Green was housed in a juvenile pod in the Tulsa County jail. Green turned 18 in May and has since been moved to a pod for adults.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Virgil Collett said he saw Green’s name “pretty frequently” on incident reports and estimated that at least 30 were on file since his arrest. During cross-examination, though, Lee said a person of Green’s age and small frame could be a “prime target for victimization” while in custody and would need to defend himself.
However, David Hull, a detention officer, testified that Green punched him in the eye in August after Hull told him to put his laundry bag back in his cell.
Brown, Green’s stepfather, testified that Green struggled to cope after his biological father was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer when Green was 10. He said Green watched his grandmother die of an apparent heart attack during a stay at her house when he was 14. He said Green did not see a therapist after either death.
Laura Hassell, a probation counselor for the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau, said Green had been referred to the bureau 12 times — and four of them led to felony adjudications — before the homicide, robberies and rape. She told Gray that the treatment plan she started working on for Green in August 2017 centered on mental health intervention and family therapy.
“I immediately had concerns about inappropriate and ineffective parenting,” she said. “It didn’t appear the home had formalized rules and consequences. It was chaotic.”
Lee said several factors, such as instability in Green’s parents’ relationship, counted against Green during the juvenile system’s calculation of his risk to the public despite Green’s having no control over them. But when Gray asked Hassell whether she would describe Green’s home environment as “consequence free,” she said, “Yes.”
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