Tulsa Family Works To Keep Killer Behind Bars

Friday, May 25th 2012, 5:24 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa family has spent 22 years keeping a killer behind bars but may very well lose that fight in the next month or two.

The parole board has granted Ricky Reece parole and it's now up to the governor to agree. The family of the man murdered by Reece is asking everyone to urge the governor to say no.

Keith Atkins married Sharlon and she became pregnant with twins. It should've been a happy love story.

Sharlon's ex-husband stalked her for years. On May 19th, 1990, he drove an hour to Tulsa with a gun. When Reese knocked, Keith answered the door and Reese shot him three times in the stomach, then once more after he was down.

The Governor of OK: NO Parole for Persons Convicted of 1st Degree Murder

Keith staggered out of the house and collapsed. Reese grabbed his pregnant ex wife by the hair, dragged her into the house and held her and her mother Estelle hostage at gunpoint for 14 hours before finally surrendering.

"He told them if EMSA or any kind of emergency people came up to the house he would blow up the house," Keith's daughter Carlla said. "He had them convinced he had it rigged to blow up."

Keith bled to death where he collapsed. In a plea deal the next year, Reese got a life sentence, which meant he then began coming up for parole.

"Every three years when we have to write letters to the parole board, begging them not to parole him, you just go through it all over again," Keith's sister Barbara Hartman said.

Every time they succeeded, until now. The board has recommended Reese be paroled on the murder conviction after 22 years in prison.

"What's he going to do this time?" Barbara said. "She's married again. It's the same situation as before."

They don't believe Reese should ever walk the streets again. Carlla was 19 when her father was murdered. Her children have grown up without knowing their grandfather, and Keith's twins have grown up not knowing their father.

"It's anger; it's sadness; it's all these emotions combined into one," Carlla said.

If Reese is paroled on the murder conviction, he'll start serving the 10 year kidnapping sentence, which means he'll be up for parole and likely released in three years.

They're asking people to write and email the governor.