Family wonders why 'Caitlin's Law' wasn't enforced

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

A family is outraged that a law in their daughter's name did not help protect someone else. An investigation reveals that when a kidnapping suspect was recently arrested, he should not have been out on bond at all. Now he's accused of kidnapping again.

Even though Calvin Sterling is in jail for now, he was out on bond when police say he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend a second time.

A local family says law named for their loved one should have protected the victim. Cindy Wooten says when she heard about the kidnapping case in Durant, it hit close to home.

“It's as if Caitlin's death meant nothing to the district attorney's office," she says.

Cindy's referring to "Caitlin's law," passed in 2006. The law makes it tougher for suspects of dangerous crimes to be released on bond. It’s named for Cindy's step-daughter Caitlin Wooten who was killed in 2005.

Authorities say she was abducted in broad daylight. Her attacker, Jerry Don Savage, was out on bond after kidnapping Caitlin's mother days before. Cindy Wooten says she's upset Calvin Sterling was able to post bond after police say he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend. ‘Caitlin's Law’ states a prosecutor has to show the suspect is a threat to the public if out on bond.

Bryan County District Attorney Emily Redman says District Judge Trace Sherill initially asked for "no-bond" for Sterling's role in a September 27th kidnapping.

Redman says Sterling hired a defense attorney, and no previous record, so an assistant district attorney agreed to give Sterling an $11,000 bond. Sterling was prohibited from contacting the victim or setting foot in Bryan County, as conditions of the bond.

"We believed, on the basis of the information we had at that time, that the safety of the public and specifically the alleged victim could be insured by the condition of that bond and obviously we were wrong about that," Redman said.

The victim says the September 27th incident was the second kidnapping, not the first. She says Sterling took her at knife point to Tishomingo. She filed a police report and a protective order, but no arrests were made. He was not charged until a second incidient, when police say he kidnapped her and took her to Denton, Texas.

He posted bond for the Denton kidnapping, then days later police say he kidnapped her a third time. They say he broke into their family’s home, and forced her to go to Tishomingo. Authorities say he sexually assaulted her in a tent in the woods behind his home.

The victim says Sterling would wait until her mother left for work in the mornings before approaching her. She repeatedly told him to away, but he used a knife one time, a bb gun the next, and kept hitting her the third. Each abduction happened mid-morning, in broad daylight. The victim told KXII she hopes Sterling receives some help so he doesn’t hurt anyone else the way he has hurt her and her family.

Cindy Wooten says they plan to work tirelessly, making sure ‘Caitlin’s Law’ is enforced strictly.

"This is Caitlin's legacy. I want to make sure it doesn't go unheeded."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ARKIE1947 Location: Colbert on Oct 19, 2007 at 12:47 PM
    Woody; This is Bryan County Oklahoma at it's very best, the criminals have already moved to here, they occupy the Judicial System, Sheriffs Office, Jail, etc.,They Operate with the kin-folk and good-buddy System. This never works, Prisoners Aledegly Bond Out one ends up floating in the lake, speeding deputy on Non-Emergency call hit horse, near kill's himself, the jail is operated with a unqualified supervisor, his son-in-law, is the Assistant-Administrator LOL, the sheriff is more interested in hot-rod cars and helicopters, (that no one knows how to fly) than supervising the department he is elected to. Until the citizens of Bryan County, Replaces the Sheriff, and fires all the kinfolk & good-buddies it aint never going to change.
  • by That Girl Location: Bryan County on Oct 19, 2007 at 12:18 PM
    If you don't live in Bryan County, how could you know what is going on here for sure. Yes there have been way to many escapes and this is not good, but I love it here and plan to stay here. There is crime in every other county in this country and there are escapes from other jails and prisons. Don't judge all of Bryan county on what a few does. It really is a wonderful place to live.
  • by o my Location: denison on Oct 19, 2007 at 11:57 AM
    here we go again bryan county jail, courts,police, sheriff's dept. very few months ago bryan county jail released 2 inmates in a few hours of release one was dead killed by the other one. said it was a mix up between the court clerk and the jail. No bond and order to hold had been put in place by Judge at that time. Now we have a Judge, and District attorney that blantaly disobeys the state laws. wonder how long this will take to just go away as is normal with the illegal actions of the bryan county officials don't matter what law they break, how corrupt they are just wait it will go away.
  • by johnny Location: olney,tx. on Oct 19, 2007 at 10:48 AM
    don,t blame the police force. i blame the judge, and our justice system. they need too make better judgements, when it comes down too no-goods like this guy. he should have a no-bond out. i fully support our police, fireman, and hospital and emsa workers. our justice system needs too make changes,what ever happen too the 1970,s. sincerly johnny, from olney,tx. i hope the young lady is doing ok. i will pray for her in church, and home.
  • by Feedup Location: Sherman on Oct 19, 2007 at 10:13 AM
    What is going on in Bryan Co.? In 2003 my ex-husband ran over me with his girlfriends car in a rural area. Because there were no witnesses and I was not seriously injured, the d.a. said it was 'obvious" that something happened but that it was a matter of my word against his and they later dropped the case for lack of evidence. It is a felony to kick a dog, but domestic violence is a misdemenor. Brayn Co. needs to come out of the stone ages and start protecting the women who live there.
  • by Woody Location: Gainesville, Texas on Oct 19, 2007 at 10:07 AM
    I cannot believe that the Attorney General of Oklahoma doesn't step in and do something about the lack of law enforcement in Bryan County. They seem to ignore all the escapes from jail and the corrupt police and sheriffs departments. All crooks should move to Bryan County, Oklahoma because they will be safe from all prosecution.
  • by Neil Bloyd Location: Sherman on Oct 19, 2007 at 09:58 AM
    When I'm in Oklahoma I always stay @ the Brayan County jail. I Love thier come and go policy.
  • by Lynn Location: Sherman on Oct 19, 2007 at 09:00 AM
    I can tell you why... cause it's Bryan, Co. Obviously, they don't enforce the rules! Even if they had kept him, you could've brokeout...
  • by That Girl Location: Bryan County on Oct 19, 2007 at 08:34 AM
    I live in Bryan County and I love it here. The Police department is one of the best in the state. A protection order is only as good as the person who files it wants it to be. This girl should have never taken any calls from him and should have made sure that she call 911 when he came around her.
  • by Laci Location: Love County on Oct 19, 2007 at 08:07 AM
    I had a problem with a man that was stalking, calling and following me. The laws couldn't do anything about him due to we were not related. Why does that matter. They said he had to do something physical before they can do anything to him. I think the laws need to be changed in so many area's. Bryan county isn't the only county with these problems, it is all Oklahoma Counties.... We need more protecting laws for Women and Men
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