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Mom of teen accused of killing stepdad blames mental illness

Tahlequah Daily Press - 8/22/2019

Aug. 21--by Keri Thornton

The mother of a 15-year-old who is accused of first-degree murder says her daughter fell through the cracks of the system.

Roberta Studie-Maize is the mother of Saiane Studie, accused in the stabbing death of her stepfather, Gary Maize. Gary was Roberta's husband.

Two weeks prior to the June 25 stabbing, Studie-Maize said, she reached out to her daughter's physiologist and asked for them to conduct a full evaluation on the girl. Her request was rejected, even though they were having issues with the teen.

Studie-Maize said her daughter has had a history of mental health issues and there were multiple trips to hospitals and countless councilor visits with no real diagnosis.

"She intended to treat Saiane with what they already had, which what I found is severe depression and acute anxiety in Hastings [hospital] records," Studie-Maize said. "We were concerned that she wasn't diagnosed properly."

Studie-Maize described the relationship between her husband and her daughter as "nothing but positive and normal."

"He was constantly there for her when I couldn't be. He always had her med pack filled and was running her around so she could try to enjoy being a teenager. He is the greatest man you would ever meet, and all who knew him would say the same," Studie-Maize said.

She said she visits her daughter every week, and that she will continue to fight for the girl and promote awareness for those who suffer mentally.

"It is tragic the system has failed, and I will fight for those in need so they don't have to suffer as we have," she said.

The teen's mother said that due to the mental issues, she feared that one day, the girl would take her own life, but not commit murder.

"She just has an illness that was not treated. Gary and I knew that she was on edge in times of crisis. Yes, she has had reports of violence, but we did not fear her," she said.

Maize was purportedly stabbed to death by Studie in Briggs. She told officials she "had to do it in self-defense." However, evidence collected at the scene did not corroborate that claim, said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.

The teen drove a truck belonging to Maize into Tahlequah from the scene and called 911 around 4 p.m. Once investigators arrived at the apartment complex, she refused to speak with anyone, asked for a lawyer, and was arrested.

Crystal Jackson, an attorney from Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, was appointed to represent Studie. She was arraigned before Associate District Judge Joshua King on a first-degree murder charge July 9. During her initial appearance, Cherokee County District Court Assistant Judge Josh King found probable cause for the murder charge.

The state intends to try Studie as an adult. She is to remain in a juvenile detention facility without bond. It is not known whether she is back in Craig County Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Vinita.

Studie is set to appear before Special District Judge Gary Huggins on Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. in Cherokee County District Court.


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