In May 2010, someone crept into the home of Lewis Fryer, 42, and stabbed him to death while he slept. His 15-year-old daughter Kaleigh found his body and phoned the police. Her boyfriend was arrested for the murder, but he had a very twisted and unexpected story to tell… Apparently, he’d been instructed to carry out the killing by Kaleigh. But was he just trying to get himself out of hot water, or had the teenager arranged for her dad to die?
On 13 May 2010, 42-year-old Lewis Fryer went to bed as normal. His daughter Kaleigh, 15, was in the house, too.
Lewis had divorced Kaleigh’s mum Tricia in 1997, and had won custody of Kaleigh and her older brother.
When he fell asleep that night in May, he probably thought he and Kaleigh were as safe as could be…
But, at around 3am, someone entered the Fryers’ home in Guthrie, Oklahoma, through the back door.
The intruder grabbed a knife from the kitchen and made their way to Lewis’ room, stabbing him numerous times while he slept.
They then stole his car and fled.
A few hours later, Kaleigh awoke to find her dad lying dead in a pool of blood. Panicking, she phoned emergency services.
A murder investigation was launched and, very quickly, police arrested Jerry Chiles – Kaleigh Fryer’s boyfriend.
When they spoke to Chiles, he confessed to killing Lewis.
But he claimed all was not as it seemed…
Chiles, 21, told detectives that he’d only killed Lewis at Kaleigh’s request.
Apparently, his girlfriend had wanted her dad dead, and had begged Chiles to kill him.
Kaleigh Fryer was arrested shortly after. But she claimed Chiles’ story was all lies.
In July 2010, Chiles appeared at Logan County Courthouse, and reached a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for testifying against Kaleigh, and accepted a life sentence without possibility of parole instead of the death penalty.
Chiles told the court that he’d been dating Kaleigh for about four months…
She’d told him she was pregnant, though it was confirmed in court that she wasn’t.
According to him, she’d first broached the subject of murder just two weeks before her father’s death.
‘We were just talking, hanging out, chillin’,’ Chiles said. ‘She said her dad was mean to her. She said I could probably stay with her and her mom.’
Living with friends at the time, the prospect of staying with Kaleigh and Tricia was appealing to him.
‘She said she’d leave the back door open for me and stuff,’ he testified. ‘Then she showed me where the knives are at… She said, please, please can I do it..? And I said “yeah”.’
But why would Kaleigh want her father dead?
Investigators had trawled her MySpace profile for clues.
The teen had written, My mom, she’s the most important thing in my life. If anyone knows me real well, they’d know that I’d do anything for her. My dad, on the other hand, I could care less what happens to him, he means nothing to me.
Had she wanted him dead so she could live with her mum?
Prosecutors believed so.
According to Chiles, he’d abandoned Lewis Fryer’s car at a mall before phoning Kaleigh from a payphone.
When police had checked Kaleigh’s phone records, they’d shown she’d received a call from Chiles just before ringing 911.
She’d also used her phoneat about 3.30am to check her voicemail and to access the Internet.
But Kaleigh had told police she’d slept through the night and found her father’s body when she awoke up at 7am.
Had she simply woken and innocently used her phone, oblivious to what’d happened in her father’s bedroom just moments before?
Or had she been lying awake all night, just waiting for her boyfriend to commit murder?
Kaleigh Fryer’s defence argued that Chiles was nothing more than a compulsive liar, who wanted to get off with a more lenient sentence.
They claimed he’d been to the Fryer household before, that he knew where the knives were kept.
They said he probably killed Lewis because he believed his girlfriend was pregnant, and feared going to jail for having sex with her while she was still under-age.
Chiles admitted he’d slept with Kaleigh four or five times, knowing she was only 15.
But, apparently, he didn’t know it was illegal to have sex with someone under 16.
Chiles also admitted he was once a member of a street gang.
Kaleigh’s lawyer argued, ‘Some people are extremely skilled liars. He admitted on the stand to having sex with a minor.’
The lawyer went on, ‘In the end, a jury is going to come to understand he is the type of person that’s going to say anything to help himself.’
Then Kaleigh’s mother took to the stand…
‘About a week before, we both told him there’s no way he could come live with us,’ she said. ‘His testimony was lies.’
Kaleigh’s defence added that the teen was an innocent victim.
‘It is my belief that she could not see him for who he was, and that she had actually let a wolf into her home, and she is as surprised as anyone about what happened,’ her lawyer argued.
It was time for the jury to come to a decision.
Had Kaleigh really plotted her dad’s murder? Or was her boyfriend just trying to avoid the death penalty and get himself a lighter sentence?
It took the jury two and a half hours to convict Kaleigh Fryer of first-degree murder.
She was sentenced to life in prison, but with the possibility of parole.
Before sentencing, Kaleigh’s brother Keith admitted he grappled with the loss of his father and the arrest of his sister.
‘My dad was only 5ft 2in, but he was the only 5ft 2in person I’d ever look up to,’ Keith said. ‘My dad was, and still is, the perfect role model to me. I loved my dad, and I always will.’