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Second Juvenile Pleads Guilty In DART Murder

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The mother of a 19-year-old killed when he was pushed in front of a DART train isn’t satisfied, but Friday she accepted the plea bargain from one of her son’s alleged killers.

“At the end of the day it’s justice that we’re after,” Taykesha Harper told CBS 11.  When asked if she got justice, she replied,”Well, the Texas Juvenile Court feels like it’s justice.”

A now 15-year-old boy received a 30-year sentence for his part in the death of Octavius Lanier. Lanier died when a gang of juveniles robbed him and pushed him in front of a DART train last November.

Lanier, 19, was hardly older than the boys who allegedly killed him. His mother wishes all the accused could have gone to a full trial with potential 40-year sentences, but she understands the plea deal.

Still, “I miss him so much,” she said.

Harper is angry at the loss of her son, but stoically accepts his alleged killers have needs and rights as well.   “They’re not animals or anything like that, they’re somebody’s children. They are, actually, babies.”

She laments the loss of her son.  “My friend is gone, my rock is gone and my purpose for living is gone and I am mad, but it’s not going to bring my baby back.”

She’s also upset at the response her son’s accused killer gave her in court.  “I think he said he was sorry for my loss, you know? But–I don’t know—it wasn’t heartfelt.”  She was appalled the boy said he didn’t know why he and his friends had killed Lanier.  “So if you don’t know why you did what you did, how could you have any feeling behind what you did? Do you know what I’m saying?” Harper asked, adding, “How could you be sorry for something if you didn’t know why you did it?”

Today’s juvenile was the second of four accused to take a plea. The two guilty pleas and sentences are identical—two more accused are still in the court system.   “What these boys did was really bad, you know? They used a train to subdue their victim.   You understand what I’m saying? And my baby succumbed and lost his life that night and it was not worth it.  And nobody knows why they did what they did.”

Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon told the youngster he should thank his lawyer for the work he did.  If he’d gone to trial and been convicted in her court, she says the sentence would have been harsher.

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