OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Protesters gathered at the Oklahoma County Jail calling for the release of 17-year-old Wyatt Cheatham, who has been charged with murder, even though he didn’t pull the trigger.
Cheatham was charged after an armed robbery of a convenience store when his alleged accomplice, 15-year-old Stavian Rodriguez was shot and killed by police.
“[It’s] a nightmare that doesn’t end. I miss my son. I’m just thankful that my son is still alive. I’m not going to lose him to this system. We’re not going to let that happen,” Amanda Totsch, Cheatham’s mother, said.
Police say Rodriguez returned to the store for a second time that night without Cheatham, and that’s when he was killed.
“[Cheatham] was not on premises,” Totsch said.
Under Oklahoma law, Cheatham can be charged with murder because he and Rodriguez were allegedly taking part in something dangerous when Rodriguez was killed.
“It was just shocking. My son is hurt, he’s like, ‘mom, I’m not a killer.’ ‘We know you’re not a killer, son, we know you are not a killer,'” Totsch said.
She and advocates think Cheatham should go through the legal process for robbery, but not for murder.
“She’s not saying her son should be set scot free. She knows he did an illegal crime, a charge of robbery,” activist Michael Washington said.
“He’s mourning the death of his friend, on top of having to deal with being charged with his murder. He regrets going to that store to do what they had done. He regrets his friend died because of it,” Totsch said.
District Attorney David Prater has not commented on the case.
As of last month, authorities were still investigating whether the officers who killed Rodriguez should be charged with wrongful death.