OLATHE, Kan. — A 17-year-old Johnson County girl, accused of first-degree murder, is out of jail and on house arrest. The teen is set to give birth while she is awaiting trial.
However, the victim’s mother said, pregnant or not, the accused shouldn’t be experiencing the comforts of home.
Her son, Ben Workman, was murdered back in January. Nearly a month later, 21-year-old Raymond Hicks, 24-year-old Raymond Cherry, and a 17-year-old girl were all charged with first-degree murder in his case.
“I keep all my son’s pictures up here,” Amy Workman said, pointed to her fridge to show pictures from the 17 years her son was alive. “I was there in court, holding this picture so she could see it, and so her family could see what destroyed me.”
FOX4 talked with her back in February before the third person, Cherry, was officially charged with the murder. Workman has since moved out of the area, but she said she keeps track of all three suspects’ cases.
She said she knew through court proceedings that the girl was pregnant at the time she was arrested for her son’s murder, but was shocked when a victim advocate told her she would be released on house arrest to have the baby.
“Nobody wants to feel the loss of losing a child, and knowing this person is being let out to be able to sleep in their own bed and have the comforts of home like nothing has happened,” Workman said. “It’s just not right that she’s out. That she made that adult decision.”
Former Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said this is a very unusual circumstance. He said the court may have made the decision to limit liability and cut costs.
“It’s obviously a really serious charge, and you’ve got to make sure if someone is going to be out for a medical procedure like having a baby you do everything you can to keep tabs on them,” Morrison said. “I suspect that’s what’s going on here.”
According to court documents, the teen was released to house arrest with GPS monitoring on August 30.
She previously pleaded guilty to two battery cases in Johnson County. One for two battery cases and disorderly conduct. She was released from probation in the second case in October 2018.
FOX4 went to the teen’s home to try and speak to her parents about their daughter, but no one answered the door.
“House arrest with GPS monitoring, which allows the monitoring agency to know when they leave their house or try to leave the area or try to go someplace to make contact with somebody or take off, they’re going to know real quick and they’re going to arrest them,” Morrison said.
Monitored or not, Workman said justice for her son is what the court should be concerned about, not the comfort of a murder suspect.
“She needs to be put back in jail and tried as an adult,” Workman said. “This is not okay. This was my child. Ben had brothers. He had nephews. His nephews aren’t ever going to get to see him or get to know him.”
The teen is scheduled to be back in court on September 12 for a review hearing. It’s unclear when she is expected to give birth or what the conditions are in regard to her house arrest.