Cushing, Okla. — It’s not often a person born in 1916 is charged with murder accused of killing their great granddaughter, but it happened in Cushing.
“She was a one of a kind person, sweet gentle,” said Donavon, a friend of the victim.But Sonja James’ life was cut short. Investigators say she was shot and killed in her bedroom while she slept; not at the hands of a stranger but by her 97 year old great grandfather Russell Dawes.
I’ve never seen this happen, it’s very unusual. This is the oldest murder defendant I’ve seen,” said District Attorney Tom Lee said the 911 call was made by an employee at funeral home in town.
“Apparently Dawes called him and told him he needed help. The funeral director went out to the residence and discovered the body and called law enforcement.”
According to the affidavit, when detectives arrived on scene Dawes told them quote “I got tired of her carrying on and I shot her.”
Lee said that statement refers to allegations that the thirty-year old was abusing him.
“That could be a form of self defense but a jury would determine if he had the lawful legal right to kill someone as a result of that,” said Lee.
But accusations of elderly abuse is something a friend of the victim finds hard to believe.
“She didn’t deserve it. I’ve known her for ten years but we were together for almost the past five,” said Donavon who says he once dated James.
He said James leaves behind an 8 year old son. He was not living with her at the time.
But Donavon wants people to remember the victim the way he will, “I’ll remember how loyal and faithful of a friend she would be and how much she taught everyone she came in contact with.”