School shooter may end up in Lawrence
Teen injured 5 classmates in 1999
In December 1999, 13-year-old Seth Trickey took a 9 mm pistol to his Fort Gibson, Okla., middle school and shot and wounded five classmates, including a 12-year-old girl he shot in the face.
Now Trickey is 16, and Oklahoma juvenile-justice officials are recommending that as soon as he finishes treatment at a group home, he should be sent to live with his grandparents in Lawrence.
Not everyone likes the recommendation.
“This is not a car thief,” said Muskogee County Assistant Dist. Atty. Sejin Brooks. “This is someone who emptied a clip at his classmates.”
Oklahoma prosecutors say Trickey belongs in custody until he turns 19, and they say they’ll do everything they can to make sure that happens.
The shooting took place outside Fort Gibson Middle School as students were waiting for the school day to begin. One girl was shot in the cheek and three other children in the legs or arms, Brooks said. A fifth student was grazed by a bullet.
Today, Trickey, who will turn 17 in December, is in the fourth phase of a five-phase “reintegration” program at a secure group home in Weatherford, Okla., according to court records. A counselor there described him in a recent report as well-behaved, attentive and “well on track for a successful discharge” from the program.
And as soon as that happens, Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs officials reported earlier this week, they’ll recommend Trickey be placed in Lawrence with his maternal grandparents, Robert and Marilyn Martin. The recommendation was based on a home study completed by a Kansas agency. The records don’t specify which agency.
Mary Beth Kidd, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority, said her agency performed home studies but she didn’t have enough information Thursday afternoon to confirm whether her agency was involved with Trickey’s case.
The Martins could not be reached for comment Thursday, nor could Steven Novick, a Tulsa-based attorney representing the Trickey family. Efforts to contact other family members, including the parents, also were unsuccessful.
Trickey’s father and mother, Randy and Debbie Trickey, asked for forgiveness after the assault, saying they were struggling to make sense of it.
The gun used in the shooting belonged to Randy Trickey, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the time. Debbie Trickey was employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Associated Press reports. They have two other children. No information was available as to why Trickey may end up with his grandparents rather than his parents.
However, Oklahoma Juvenile Affairs spokeswoman Rhonda Burgess told the Tulsa World this week that it wasn’t unusual for OJA to send a juvenile out of state to live with relatives to complete certain treatment phases.
And at a June hearing, Trickey’s attorney, Novick, touted Trickey’s grandparents as retired school teachers, with the grandmother having experience working with juvenile offenders.
Oklahoma officials pushing for Trickey’s early release say he’s already taking college courses, is interested in attending Haskell Indian Nations University, and has been certified in CPR.
Before going to the group home, Trickey spent about 2 1/2 years at Rader Treatment Center, a high-security center for juveniles, according to court records. He was discharged in April 2003 and spent two months at a residential treatment center in Austin, Texas, before going to live at the group home.
“He is involved in group therapy (twice) weekly and individual counseling once a week,” a counselor from the group home wrote earlier this month. “Treatment has been focused on identifying and processing emotions.”
State juvenile officials wrote that as soon as Trickey was released from the group home, “a recommendation for placement with the grandparents will be made.”
According to reports in Oklahoma newspapers, Trickey has blamed his violent outburst on a variety of factors, including an obsession with the military, fascination with the Columbine school massacre in Colorado, and a perceived lack of attention from parents. The former honor student also testified he felt pressure to perform well at school.
Documents released by Muskogee County District Court after Trickey’s conviction show that drugs may have played a role in the school attack.
Three weeks before the shooting, Trickey had been injected with an overdose of the prescription poison ivy drug Kenalog, said Dr. William Banner, a toxicologist and medical director of the Oklahoma Poison Center.
Kenalog is a steroid alleged to have psychotic effects on some users, according to the three medical experts who testified at one of Trickey’s hearings.
Trickey was also taking the prescription drug Inderal for severe migraine headaches and had been referred to a psychologist for stress management and biofeedback training.
Inderal is known to cause depression, an expert testified, although that was never diagnosed in Trickey.
A decision on the case could be made as soon as Dec. 3, when a district judge conducts a hearing on the matter, Brooks said. He said his agency would argue Trickey should remain in a secure group home.
Under Oklahoma law, Trickey could remain in the juvenile authority’s custody until he turns 19, Brooks said.
“That’s exactly where he needs to stay,” Brooks said.