TULSA, Okla. – Three Oklahoma teenagers who were shot dead during a suspected home invasion this week broke into a detached garage on the property earlier the same day and stole liquor from a game room, authorities said Thursday.
Maxwell Cook, Jacob Redfern and Jakob Woodruff robbed the converted apartment earlier Monday and decided to return the house in an affluent Tulsa-area neighborhood after a woman suspected of driving them there had "indirect knowledge" there might be expensive items to steal inside, Wagoner County sheriff's deputy Nick Mahoney said.
The alleged getaway driver, 21-year-old Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, is jailed without bond on murder and burglary warrants. Jail records don't list an attorney for her.
"(Rodriguez) had indirect knowledge of the household and knew indirectly there would be expensive items, and they decided that was the house to burglarize," Mahoney said.
The three were shot by the homeowner's son, who hasn't been arrested. Mahoney said the case could be sent to the district attorney by Monday for a determination whether to file charges.
Monday's triple shooting also figures to test the state's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows citizens to shoot someone if they believe their safety is threatened. Oklahoma is among 24 states with such a provision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
When the three teens returned to the house, Cook, Redfern and Woodruff were clad in black and wearing masks and gloves, Mahoney said. After the teens — who are between 15 and 19 years old — broke in at the back of the house, they were quickly confronted by the homeowner's son, who shot them with an AR-15 rifle, then called 911.
"I've just been broken into. Three men. Two I've shot in my house," the homeowner's son tells the dispatcher, sounding relatively collected on the recording released by the county. The son tells the operator he had gone to his bedroom and locked the door. "And you guys need to start EMS. I believe one of them's shot bad."
Two of the teens died inside. The third ran outside and died in the driveway. A knife and brass knuckles were recovered at the scene. The name spellings and ages of the teens differ in some public records.
Numerous attempts by The Associated Press to contact the son, who is a pilot, and his parents were unsuccessful Thursday.
Monday's shootings rattled the quiet neighborhood located in an unincorporated part of Wagoner County, which itself has an annual homicide rate "in the single digits," Mahoney said.
"It's not something we're accustomed to seeing in that area," he said. "It's a prominent neighborhood."
A criminal law expert, who discussed the Oklahoma home invasion case in his Wednesday class, doubted charges would be brought against the son. Joseph Cillo, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Saint Leo University in Florida and a former Los Angeles defense attorney, said the son would be protected by the Castle Doctrine, which states that a person can defend their home if they feel they are in danger.
"The Castle Doctrine is even better than 'Stand Your Ground,'" Cillo said. "It would be a criminal homicide if he would have killed them outside.
"You've got to put yourself in the shoes of the homeowner. It's a nanosecond on the clock of life. It's a split-second decision and there's three of them and one of you," he said.