Harris Family Finds Peace With Bob Bates Sentence, But No Joy
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Family members of both Bob Bates and Eric Harris testified for hours Tuesday afternoon; each went before the judge with opposing requests.
The judge handed down a four-year prison sentence, the maximum for second-degree manslaughter, but Harris' family said there are no winners in the case.
Bates' wife, Charlotte, is convinced her 74-year-old husband will die in prison, and she blames the media.
"To put my husband in prison for four years, my husband will die. And I want you all to know you're part of the responsibility for that," she said.
But that's not what Harris' family wants.
Harris’ son, Aidan Fraley, graduated high school this month and said he was devastated his father wasn't there and was, instead, watching him from Heaven.
But even in his grief, Aidan said he forgives Bates.
"Yeah, I forgive Bob Bates. I forgive him, but there's still consequences for the actions. If people forgive me, and I did something, I still have consequences for them. So I forgive Bob Bates," he said.
Harris' girlfriend Cathy, Aidan's mother, said she wants people to know Harris was more than the man sprawled on the ground, shot to death by mistake.
She said, "He was so much more than that. He was everything to us, I mean, his breath may not have mattered to them, but to us it was everything. He was our world."
The family finds peace with the sentence, saying they're relieved Bates will face the consequences of his actions, but there's no joy and no celebration.
"There's no winners,” Fraley said. “Nobody's happy. I'm not happy about this whole situation, nobody is. Nobody wants to be here."
Bates' attorney Clark Brewster said he will appeal as soon as possible.