Jerry Newman spoke exclusively to News On 6 from the Tulsa County Jail after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder for the death of William Bruckman.
Officers said Newman stole a utility truck and led police on a chase in 2017. They said he eventually got onto Highway 75, going the wrong way, and hit Bruckman, 23, head-on, killing him.
Newman said he’s sick when he sees dash cam video of the chase or hears details about the innocent life he took, but said he feels he should have been charged with manslaughter, not murder.
“It was a terrible accident, and that’s what it is. An accident,” Newman said. “I still don’t think I’m guilty of first-degree murder.”
Newman said he lost a loved one two days before the incident and said he turned to drugs to deal with his grief. Newman said he doesn’t remember much and compared his brain to a “strobe light” of memories.
“It’s actually a weird feeling when you’ve seen yourself do something you can’t remember,” he said.
But Newman said he’s thinking much differently now, knowing he’s facing life in prison.
“It’s heartbreaking. I mean, I can come up for parole around 63-years-old,” he said.
But that’s if the judge runs his sentences all at once. There is a chance Newman could die in prison.”
“None of it’s worth it. I don’t think a million dollars is worth a day of my freedom anymore,” he said.
Newman said he plans to appeal his conviction, but, regardless of how that turns out, he’s searching for a bigger purpose.
“If I can just change one person’s life while I’m in there, I think I’ve done something right,” Newman said.
The victim’s wife said after the trial all she wanted to see from Newman was some type of remorse. Newman said he’s spent countless hours in jail thinking about the day that changed his life, and hers. He even said he wrote a letter to the Bruckman family. He said he doesn’t know if they’ve read it but wants them to know he’s sorry.
“I’m not this monster I get painted out to be,” he said. “If I could give my life for him, I would.”
Newman will find out October 15th if the judge will run the sentences at the same time or back to back.