Rancher Freed From Prison

Wednesday, November 21st 2007, 3:10 pm
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- A Choctaw County cattle rancher once charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a wetlands company employee is now a free man. An attorney for Fred Lloyd Holder says the man walked out of Muskogee County Jail on Tuesday a free man after serving nearly eight years in prison.

Attorney Stephen Jones says he reached an agreement with federal prosecutors in Muskogee that Holder be released for time served after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Holder was initially charged with first-degree murder in Choctaw County for the September 1999 shooting of David Jeffery Pickens during a property dispute.

Fred Lloyd Holder later was found guilty of second-degree murder in federal court, but that conviction was overturned by an appeals court and a new trial ordered.

Stephen Jones says all parties agreed to skip a new trial in exchange for the guilty verdict to a lesser charge.