Authorities Trying to Trace Weapon From Okla. Killing

May 8, 2006

A gun used to kill two people in Ada, Okla., was sold at least four times in the three months after it was manufactured, and investigators say they want to know who sold it.

The last person to presumably purchase the Hi-Point 9mm pistol was Jerry Don Savage, who authorities say used it to kill Ada teenager Caitlin Wooten before turning the gun on himself.

Pontotoc County Undersheriff Joe Glover said he’s trying to determine who sold the gun to Savage.

Federal law prohibited Savage from having a firearm based on a protective order filed against him, but that law is easily circumvented. Only gun dealers are legally required to document the sale of a firearm. Private citizens can sell guns to anyone at anytime – no questions asked.

Thousands of these weapons are confiscated by various law enforcement agencies each year in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City police destroy about 2,000 firearms a year at a steel mill in Sand Springs – guns without a “rightful owner.”

Authorities believe Savage obtained the gun shortly after making $200,000 bail for allegedly kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, Donna Wooten, at gunpoint with a different pistol. Savage then used the gun to abduct Wooten’s 16-year-old daughter, Caitlin, on the afternoon of Sept. 23 from the Ada High School parking lot in an attempt to win back her mother.

Later that day, authorities say Savage shot the teen in the back of the head before killing himself.

Faye Francis Sliger, who prosecutors claim allowed Savage to borrow his pickup, faces a first-degree murder charge. Karen Maureen Dial is charged with conspiring to commit a felony because prosecutors say she was present when Sliger loaned the truck.

Investigators wonder if others should be charged.

“Where did he (Savage) get the gun?” asked Clinton Sutton, an investigator for the Pontotoc County district attorney’s office. “Did someone just sell it to him by chance, or was there someone else involved?

“We may never know the answer.”

Lineage of the gun’s ownership is still under investigation, although the undersheriff suspects police already might know how Savage illegally came into possession of the gun. The gun’s last known owner before Savage – Aaron Burns of Shawnee – says he doesn’t remember who bought the gun from him.

Glover is certain of only one thing. It took only 50 days for the handgun to travel from a gun-manufacturing plant in Mansfield, Ohio, to the scene of the murder in Ada.

“Think about that,” Glover said. “The turn around on that gun was amazing.”

Information from: The Oklahoman,

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