Jury selection will continue Tuesday in the trial of a teenager accused of setting a fire that killed a couple, after the boy's attorney rejected an offer from prosecutors to settle the case.
Tristan Owen, 17, of Oklahoma City, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in the July 13, 2011, death of Boyd Haynes, 87, and his wife, Doris Haynes, 86.
A judge previously ruled Owen can be sentenced as an adult if convicted of the murder charges. He faces life in prison if jurors find him guilty of murder.
If Owen is acquitted on the murder charges and convicted on the arson charge, he can only be convicted as a youthful offender, the judge ruled.
If convicted as a youthful offender, Owen could be held in a juvenile treatment facility only until five months after his 18th birthday. However, he also could be ordered to prison if he fails to complete a treatment plan.
Neither prosecutors nor Owen's attorney would comment on the offer. A source close to the negotiations told The Oklahoman it was 10 years in prison and 10 years probation. Attorneys negotiated outside the courtroom while more than two dozen potential jurors waited inside.
Boyd and Doris Haynes died of smoke inhalation.
They were sleeping in the bedroom of their south Oklahoma City home when the fire started shortly before 4 a.m. Owen, who was 15 at the time, lived nearby with his grandparents and his mother.
He is accused of starting a fire inside a trash container outside the couple's garage that spread to the structure, a fire official testified during the boy's preliminary hearing in October 2011.
Owen has denied setting the deadly fire but told detectives he did play around with two Molotov cocktails that broke on the street. His attorney, Francis Courbois, has said the judge should have dismissed the case, citing “nonexistent evidence.”