DUNCAN, Oklahoma — A judge in Oklahoma sentenced a teenager to life in prison without parole for the stabbing death of a 14-year-old girl, telling family members of the victim assembled in the courtroom that the sentence was one of only two options.
Michael Anthony Ray, 16, was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the June 2013 slaying of Alyssa Wiles of Duncan. Prosecutors alleged that Ray stabbed Wiles with a kitchen knife because the girl had broken up with him.
"Because the defendant is under the age of 18, the options we have are life or life without parole," Stephens County District Judge Joe Enos said Wednesday. "I'm still confronted with the defendant's history of violence."
In closing statements Wednesday, District Attorney Jason Hicks said life without parole was the closest the family and the community will come to justice. Hicks said Ray took away the family's opportunity to watch Wiles grow into a woman, to see her graduate high school and get married, The Duncan Banner reported (http://bit.ly/1fJsCaU ) Thursday.
As Ray sat in court in an orange jumpsuit, nearly 40 people dressed in Wiles' favorite color of lime green sat on the prosecution's side of the courtroom
Ray's mother, Dawn Ray, urged leniency, saying that her son had a difficult upbringing, including his father's absence because he was in the military. She requested the court consider a sentence of life instead of life without parole.
Family members told the court how Alyssa Wiles' murder had affected them, and the recurring themes were a lack of sleep, a decline in feeling safe and sorrow that couldn't be purged.
"It wasn't a nightmare or a joke," said Angela Wiles, Alyssa's mother. "My baby girl was gone."
Angela Wiles told the court that she's easily startled these days by loud noises and worries constantly about her 19-year-old son, Zachary.
Information from: The Duncan Banner, http://www.duncanbanner.com