Many question 16-year-old's history with the law

Posted at 4:35 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 23:11:10-04

TULSA -- A community was shaken to its core over the weekend after a series of violent crimes swept over south Tulsa.

An elderly woman was sexually assaulted and a father, gunned down in front of his family. Sources said the suspect was released from custody about a week  prior to committing these acts.

Now, many questions have been raised as to why 16-year-old, Deonte Green was released from custody prior to Sunday’s incidents.

“Things… happen and you're just unsure of why they would (think) of that, especially a young 16-year-old kid,” Ofc. Adam Ashley with the Tulsa Police Department said. “We had officers from all over town actually working that two square mile area."

Police said another robbery that night led them to Green, and this isn't the first time.

“We have some open cases on him before this incident even happened,” Ashley said. “It’s frustrating from law enforcement's side."

Many wondered why was this suspect was allowed back on the streets. 

Although District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler cannot speak on Green's case, or any other juvenile for that matter by law, he did explain how this happens.

He said “There are occasions in which an individual may be arrested for a youthful offender offense, but that the law or the facts do not support it being filed as such."

For example, if a juvenile commits a crime that falls under the category of a juvenile offense, a prosecutor must follow the law by directing that case to the juvenile court. 

Kunzweiler also said public safety funding is low, and when beds at detention centers are limited, courts must determine who should remain in custody and who should be released. This puts courts in a difficult decision, choosing to detain one offender, while possibly releasing another.

Police said they abide by and respect the system, and it does not deter them from their jobs.

“If I have to catch him a third time, I'll get him a third time,” Ashley said. “And if I have to get him a fourth time, we'll get him a fourth time."

The DA said he urges legislators, as they contemplate criminal justice reform measures, to give serious consideration toward restoring public safety to the levels which will keep all Oklahoman's safe.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Download our free app for Apple and Android and Kindle devices.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook