Tulsa Co. ADA Explains Prosecution Process For Minors After Teen Charged In Deadly Crash

Tulsa Co. ADA Explains Prosecution Process For Minors After Teen Charged In Deadly Crash

We are learning more about how the DA's Office prosecutes minors, following a 14-year-old's involvement in a deadly crash in a stolen SUV.

Tulsa Police said they chased Jakoby Lee-Golston in the SUV, which ended in a crash at 68th and Memorial that killed Andrew Berryman on Monday.

Jakoby Lee-Golston faces five charges, including first degree murder. Although he's 14, he's charged as an adult.

"This defendant is presumed innocent, and he enjoys that right and we look forward to presenting the facts in court," said John Tjeerdsma, ADA Tulsa County.

Police said there were two other teenage passengers in the stolen vehicle. Right now, only the driver is facing charges.

Tulsa County Prosecutors charged Lee-Golston with first degree murder, endangering others and causing great bodily injury while eluding a police officer, possession of a stolen vehicle and driving without a license.

"Anytime someone is evading law enforcement and driving at high speeds and running through stop lights or stop signs trying to escape police, that's a serious concern," said Tjeerdsma. "And the reason for the statue in this case, it's felony murder in the first degree during the commission of eluding a police officer, that involves inherently dangerous conduct and so when somebody causes somebody else's death while committing an inherently dangerous crime like eluding a police officer, that's the purpose for the felony murder first degree statue."

Assistant DA John Tjeerdsma said 13 to 17-year-olds charged with first degree murder are presumed to be an adult.

"Crimes like robbery, rape, murder, all get charged as either adult or youthful offender depending on the charge and the age," said Tjeerdsma.

Anyone ages 15 to 17 are automatically held accountable as an adult.

Thirteen and 14-year-olds may later be charged as a juvenile or youthful offender if they request re-evaluation.

Tjeerdsma said they would be evaluated by a psychologist and someone from the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

"There would be a hearing in court where both sides have the opportunity to present evidence," said Tjeerdsma. "And for a charge of first-degree murder, it's the defendant's burden to show that he or she should be reverse certified, meaning held accountable as a youthful offender or juvenile rather than an adult."

He said a youthful offender is somewhere between an adult and juvenile.

"Essentially, it's a stricter program where they have higher accountability standards than if they were charged as a juvenile. Typically, they would be housed in a facility that's secure. Not necessarily all the time, and they'd be under the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs," said Tjeerdsma.

They would have until they're 19 to complete the program.

"[A]t that point, a judge would ultimately determine what their end sentence would be and that would be up to the dismissal of all their charges all together," said Tjeerdsma.