Teen to Be Tried As Juvenile in Father's Death
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma - The case of two teens charged with murder last year has taken a new twist. Prosecutors in Cleveland County have dismissed the murder charge against 16-year-old Brittany Herrera and assigned her case to the juvenile justice system.
Prosecutors say Brittany Herrera and Matt Fox were together the night her father, Leroy Herrera, was stabbed to death--and together when they were arrested at a Denny's in Forth Worth.
They were together last June when they were ordered to stand trial for murder. But their legal togetherness is now over, and the adult murder charge against her has been dropped.
"I don't think there ever was much, if any, evidence that she killed her father or helped anybody else kill him," said Brittany Herrera's attorney, David Smith. "I never saw what I would consider enough evidence to convict for first-degree murder."
Prosecutors say they had a strong case against Brittany Herrera, but there were other factors to consider.
"There can be mitigating factors; maturity, actual involvement in the case, intent, lots of different things, and we go back and look at those kinds of issues," Assistant District Attorney David Brockmann said.
Brittany Herrera has now been moved to Norman's juvenile center. She'll stay there at least until her 18th birthday.
"Bear in mind that she's been in jail, adult jail, for almost a year now, just almost exactly a year; not a good experience for a 15-year-old girl, any 15-year-old girl," Smith said.
In an interview, Matt Fox has admitted stabbing Leroy Herrera in self-defense. And before her murder charge was dropped, Brittany Herrera gave a sworn statement about what happened the night her father was killed.
Brittany Herrera's attorney won't say what she said, but the state says it still has the option of calling her as a witness when Matt Fox comes to trial.
Matt Fox's murder trial is scheduled for late March. NEWS 9 has requested a transcript of Brittany Herrera's statement in court about what happened the night of the murder.
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