Family Of Fatal DUI Victim 'Devastated' After Tulsa Judge Reduces Life Sentence
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa family is demanding answers after a judge dramatically reduced the prison sentence of a man who pleaded guilty to killing their father.
John Freeman initially faced life in prison for a DUI manslaughter conviction, but earlier this week the judge knocked that down to just five years.
The victim's family said they are devastated, and feel like they are grieving all over again.
O.Z. Walker III and his late father share more than just a name.
"He's my best friend, he was my father, I'm his only son, so we had a tight connection," he said.
This will be O.Z.'s second Christmas without his best friend.
His father died in March 2014; a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Broken Arrow Expressway crashed into 64-year-old O.Z. Walker Jr.
Prosecutors said the driver, John Freeman, had a blood-alcohol level of .22 - nearly three times the legal limit.
Judge James Caputo sentenced him to life in prison last year, but, on Monday he dropped the sentence to just five years; the state's minimum is four.
O.Z. said the re-sentencing felt like a blow to the chest.
"Our family is going through the healing process continuously, but when you have situations like this that open up the whole situation itself, it's devastating," he said.
Freeman's defense attorney insists he's a good person who just had a lapse in judgment that night.
She told the court Freeman spends his time tutoring other inmates and wants to warn others about the dangers of drunk driving when he's released.
But that's not enough for O.Z., who feels justice has not been served.
He said, "In an aspect, he ruined a life. I feel like he maybe should, you know, serve his life."
On Friday Judge Caputo said he would not comment specifically on any case but said every decision he makes "is based on the facts, circumstances and the law that pertains to both."