A Tahlequah woman is headed to the Department of Corrections for 10 years, and will be on probation for the remainder of her life after a judge accelerated her deferred five-year judgment Friday afternoon.

Trisha Denae Catron, 23, cried as Chief District Judge Bruce Sewell announced he was convicting her of first-degree manslaughter and giving her a life sentence.

Catron appeared before Sewell on an application to accelerate the deferred judgment she received nearly two years ago on the manslaughter charge.

Catron was in a July 2003 crash east of Tahlequah that killed Andrea Beth Doyle, whose parents, family and friends attended Friday's hearing.

Defense attorney Donn Baker asked whether Catron would be allowed to go to Fayetteville, Ark., next week to take a final examination and complete the fall semester at the University of Arkansas. The judge denied the request, saying he considered Catron a flight risk.

The sentence came with some stern words from the bench.

"You had an opportunity for a bright future," Sewell told Catron. "This case has had a long history."

The court said Catron's attorney when she was placed on probation, Steve Fabian, did a great job keeping her from initially being convicted on the charge. Sewell said he recalled watching in total astonishment as the case seemed like a "comedy of errors."

"You've not totally come to terms with the fact that you killed that girl [Doyle]," the judge said. "You know in your heart, mind and soul you killed her."

Sewell said he believes it would have been better for Catron if she had been convicted instead of put on probation.

Assistant District Attorney David Pierce told the court he found Catron's continued drug and alcohol usage "shocking," and said she was dangerous to herself and others.

"There's no telling what she's likely to do if she's left to her own devices," Pierce said. "You gave her [Catron] a strong message [when she was placed on probation]. Now it's time to deliver that message and never give her the opportunity to take another life or hurt herself. We're asking you to put her on a sentence for the rest of her natural life."

Pierce said Catron could get her needed drug and alcohol treatment while in prison.

"She's absolutely ignored the rules [of probation]," Pierce told Sewell.

Baker argued the punishment should fit the crime, and that giving her a life sentence, as Pierce requested, would not fit the crime. He told Sewell he believed the court's comments at that the time he placed Catron on probation were to impress upon Catron the importance of following the rules of probation, and not a statement of what would happen if she violated the rules.

"She doesn't need to be locked up in the penitentiary," Baker said. "We don't need to destroy her life."

Baker said it was bad that one life has been taken and another life didn't need to be ruined.

"She's the reason she's here," Pierce countered. "It's not the court's fault she's here."

Catron testified after a lunch recess in the hearing. She said she felt like the deferred five-year judgment she initially received was lenient. She said she was riding in a car with her boyfriend, Cash Howell, when Cherokee Nation marshals stopped the car and arrested them Nov. 17 in Adair County. Catron was holding a marijuana cigarette when marshals arrived at the car, and testified Howell handed it to her as authorities approached the car.

Pierce and Sewell both questioned why someone would do that to a girlfriend, knowing she was on probation and risking a possible life sentence.

Catron testified she, Howell and two other people were smoking a joint -- marijuana cigarette -- at Howell's house about three hours before their arrest. CN Marshal Michael Smoker testified he smelled marijuana in the vehicle, and he believes it could have been because Catron and Howell had smoked earlier in the evening.

Catron denied she was smoking marijuana in Howell's vehicle. She said she and Howell told the marshals the marijuana belonged to Howell.

"I tried to drop it out of my hand," Catron testified. "That's what he [Howell] wanted me to do."

Some roaches -- marijuana cigarette butts -- and rolling papers were found on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Catron said she's had bad things happen in her life.

"I've been trying to get help," Catron testified.

She told Pierce she went to her grandmother's house after smoking marijuana at Howell's house, but doesn't remember if she drove or not. She testified she hasn't driven after smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol.

Catron denied doing anything to alter her urinalysis after her Nov. 17 arrest. Cathy Yarborough, Catron's probation officer, said she suspected Catron flushed her system before the test because her urine was clear like water and showed no sign of her using marijuana despite her admission she used it two days before the test.

Catron said she couldn't explain the clean tests, including a swab of the inside of her mouth which also tested negative. She said she's passed all of her drug tests except one, and it was a year ago.

Sewell chose not to reset part of the hearing to allow Baker to call a doctor who examined Catron after her most recent arrest. Baker said the crash that killed Doyle caused severe injury to Catron's frontal lobe that controls reasoning and other functions.

Sewell said he considered the doctor's report to deal more with recommended treatment for Catron. Baker believes it is appropriate for the court to hear before sentencing Catron.

Yarborough said Catron was briefly supervised by a probation officer in Arkansas. She said Catron was being supervised by Oklahoma less than a month before the Adair County violation occurred.

Yarborough testified she was "very surprised" when Catron's Nov. 19 urinalysis was negative, because marijuana stays in a person's system for 30 days. She said Catron told her, perhaps, the test was negative because she was not a habitual user. She said Catron was vague when she asked about certain things.

Yarborough was asked about not including the negative test result in her violation report about Catron. She said she didn't report on things probationers were supposed to do and only filed reports when a violation occurs. She said she knows there are certain things that will "fool" a urinalysis.

She said she planned to conduct a hair follicle test on Catron, but she had already admitted smoking marijuana.

Sewell told Yarborough she was obligated to report the good with the bad, and that she was not to omit exculpatory evidence from a report.

Catron said she's asked for help, but hasn't gone to rehabilitation. She said she told Yarborough about her drug use so she could help her.

"She [Yarborough] said I could do six months to a year at Taft," Catron testified. "I'd like to go to rehab."

Howell was briefly on the stand, but didn't testify because he has pending charges in Adair County as a result of the Nov. 17 arrest.

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