COLLINSVILLE, Okla. -- Nearly two weeks after three teens were shot and killed after breaking into a Broken Arrow home, one father is speaking out.
Wayne Smithart has fostered his son, 17-year-old Jacob Redfearn, since he was seven years old.
Now he has a message for parents and Jacob's peers.
Wagoner County was rattled to the core March 27 when Jacob Redfearn and two other teens were shot after breaking into a home.
Smithart said he wouldn't make excuses for the teen he considers a son.
But he hopes his legacy lives on as a lesson.
“I told Jake when he got adopted in my backyard that I would always be there,” he said.
A promise made by a foster father...to a boy who was special from the start.
“Jacob had never really connected with a man as a father figure. And Jacob and I did,” said Smithart. “He was always outside. If you let him fish, he'd fish all day. So I was shocked by the decision he made.”
That decision to break into a Broken Arrow home with two others – Max Cook and Jake Woodruff – would cost him his life.
The homeowner's son, Zach Peters, fired at the intruders with an AR-15, killing them all.
Smithart was shaken to the core.
“It was all what was going through his mind? Why did he do that?” he said. “Jacob was totally wrong for breaking into that home. I'm not in any way taking up for him.”
Friends, family, even Jacob's teachers expressed their shock and love for the teen.
Now the fear settles in for his peers.
“I mean there's choices you have to make. There's peer pressure. Your friends are going to want to do things that you know in your gut are not right,” said Smithart.
It's a message that's now part of a young legacy.
While Smithart feels he fulfilled his promise to Jacob, he'll always be left with the what-ifs.
“I feel like we failed in certain ways, or that there's something we could've done looking back,” he said.
But he believes his unconditional love for his son will lead him to forgiveness.
“'Do you forgive the shooter?' 'I do. That's not going to do any good. I think I do,'” he said.
That shooter, Zach Peters, has been cleared by the DA's office of any wrongdoing that day.
Elizabeth Rodriguez, the alleged getaway driver, is being held without bond while she faces three counts of murder for the deaths of Jacob and the two other teens.
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