Jenks Teen to be Tried As Youthful Offender in Murder Case

A Tulsa County judge decided that a 15-year-old Jenks boy will be tried as a youthful offender on a first-degree murder charge stemming from a fatal shooting at a Jenks home.

Joshua Scott Mooney will not be tried as an adult, but instead as a youthful offender, meaning if convicted, he will be under the purview of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Tulsa's Channel 8's community newspaper partner The Jenks Journal wrote that Mooney faces first-degree murder and second-degree burglary charges. Prosecutors alleged he shot 47-year-old Mary Escue in the head when she surprised him during a Dec. 16 burglary at her parents' house in the 400 block of E. 111th St. Mooney was 14 at the time.

Police records state that Mooney reportedly saw Escue, so he hid and surprised her, forcing her into a computer room using a rifle he found in the home. He then shot her once in the head, stole her car and took it to Sapulpa, where he was arrested.

Court documents indicate he confessed to shooting Escue on three occasions, though defense attorney Jack Zanerhaft took aim at those confessions during a hearing in early June, noting Mooney was not properly Mirandized. A motion to suppress that evidence was denied .

Wednesday's ruling from Special Judge Cliff Smith follows testimony and recommendations from a psychologist retained by the defense that Mooney be tried as a youthful offender.

Youthful offender status is reserved for suspects ages 13 to 17 accused of violent or habitual criminal behavior. It offers more serious penalties than juvenile status, but fewer penalties than adult status. Youthful offenders cannot be sentenced to life in prison on murder charges.

You can find more about the case over at the Jenks Journal's website.