Parole Board rejects parole for Wendy Luke

Wednesday, September 15th 2004, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

The state Pardon and Parole Board has rejected parole for Wendy Luke. She's the mother of 2 year old Ryan who was severely beaten to death in 1995.

At the time of his death, he was in a body cast. Wendy Luke received a 30-year sentence with ten years suspended after a plea deal.

A Pardon and Parole Board investigator had recommended parole for her. But the board voted 4-to-1 against parole.

The outrage over Ryan Luke's death was so great, it inspired a new law. The law helps protect other abused and neglected children. Despite its success, state lawmakers changed it this year to save money.

The law called for abused children sent back home to be monitored for a year. Prosecutors say a year can make a real difference. However, state lawmakers voted to reduce the time period to six months. Tulsa County assistant DA Michelle Keely: "If parents can show they can take care of their kids for one year, chances are they'll do good, but, six months is only half that and it's a little worrisome."

Keely says in one of her cases, the parents had done well for 11 months, and then went back to using drugs. They were caught and the child was protected because of the Ryan Luke law.

The law was changed to save DHS time and money.