Tahlequah, Okla., Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp anticipates charges to be filed as early as Friday against a 15-year-old girl implicated in the stabbing death of her stepfather on Tuesday.
“The state has the option in cases like this to charge a young person as an adult,” Thorp said of the fatal stabbing of Gary Maize, 67, of Briggs. “Because of the seriousness of this crime, that’s the likely course we’ll take.”
According to investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the teenager called 911 from a Tahlequah apartment complex after she left Maize with multiple stab wounds Tuesday afternoon. The girl told the 911 dispatcher she stabbed her stepfather in self defense; however, investigators say the evidence at 23467 Highway 51 suggested otherwise.
Undersheriff Jason Chennault said the girl immediately refused to talk with investigators and invoked her right to an attorney. She was arrested and booked into a juvenile facility, but Thorp said her treatment will change if she’s charged as an adult.
Once OSBI and Cherokee County investigators have finished gathering and analyzing evidence, including an autopsy performed by the state medical examiner, Thorp will determine which charges to file. He anticipated that to happen by Friday.
“The Youthful Offenders Act gives Oklahoma’s district attorneys a few options in charging teenagers from 15 to 17 years of age with certain felonies,” Thorp said; “however, first-degree murder charges can be filed against suspects as young as 13. So, if investigators hand me a case that says Gary Maize was murdered, that’s an adult crime to be tried in adult court.”
Thorp added that all suspects are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.
Local news coverage of the case: