Juror Says Former Reserve Deputy Bob Bates Shouldn't Go To Prison
TULSA, Oklahoma -
A juror in the manslaughter trial of former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Bob Bates says he doesn't deserve to go to prison.
Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter for shooting Eric Harris during an undercover sting. Bates said he pulled his gun by mistake instead of his Taser.
The juror wrote a letter to the judge, which was made public in a filing by Bates' attorneys on Friday, May 27, 2016. In it, the juror, who was juror #24, says the jury never agreed unanimously that Bates would receive prison time.
The juror wrote the instruction on punishment was confusing, and the juror thought the consensus was that the jury would recommend probation.
In explaining what happened, the juror wrote, "I said yes but I must say it was painful to say and I regret that I didn't speak up because in my mind and heart I truly do not believe Mr. Bates is guilty."
The letter was attached to a motion the attorneys filed asking the judge for more time to request a new trial. The motion says the law requires a motion for a new trial be filed within 30 days after judgment is rendered.
Bates was convicted on April 27, 2016, but the attorneys say the trial stenographer has not completed the transcript of the trial. They also say they need the transcript in order to file the motion for a new trial.
The motion filed Friday also asks the judge delay sentencing. It's scheduled for Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Bates' attorneys asked the judge to delay until the trial transcript is complete and they have a chance to review it.
Tulsa County district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler released a statement saying, "We are confident in the evidence presented to the jury and the rulings made by the court. The jury in this case was polled by the court and each juror confirmed the verdict was his/her verdict. We understand that the defense - some 30 days after that unanimous verdict - is now challenging it. We will be prepared to ask the court to uphold the verdict rendered, and sentenced Mr. Bates in accordance with the jury's recommendation for punishment."
News On 6 has chosen not to identify by name the juror who wrote the letter.