WAGONER, Okla. — A man convicted in a Wagoner boy's death could be released early on a technicality from his 19-year sentence.
In November of 2013, 12-year-old Billy Lord was riding his bike home from a church event when Richard Roth hit and killed him with his SUV.
Roth was convicted of driving under the influence and manslaughter for Lord's death.
Pamela Chuculate-Sequichie is Billy Lord’s mother and is devastated that Roth could get out of jail so soon into his sentence.
“Well, I'm angry. I am so angry right now,” said Chuculate-Sequichie.
2 Works for You spoke to Pamela as she sat at Lord's roadside memorial in the place he laid dying in 2013.
“This is where I come, you know when I need to talk to him. I come down here to talk to him,” said Chuculate-Sequichie.
Due to a recent Supreme Court ruling in the McGirt case, Roth could be released from prison early. The ruling re-established tribal jurisdiction over Native Americans on Creek Nation land.
The case would fall under that ruling because Lord was a member of the Cherokee Nation and died on Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation land.
Roth is not a member of a federally recognized tribe, meaning the case would have to fall under federal jurisdiction, not state or tribal.
District Attorney Jack Thorp was the state prosecutor on Roth’s case back in 2014.
“Well, that is the tragedy of this, and you know, this is a huge tragedy anyway. But according to the information I'm receiving is the Federal Statute of Limitations for manslaughter would be five years, and so we're well outside of the Federal Statute of Limitations for them to take the case, and they are the only jurisdiction that will have criminal jurisdiction,” said Thorpe.
Thorp said Roth’s case is headed to the Court of Criminal Appeals and will likely fall under McGirt jurisdiction-- releasing him without the ability to indict on the same crime again.
He’s hoping the Federal Government will make an exception to the statute of limitations but knows that’s not likely to happen.
“It breaks my heart that the man that just ran down that little boy could be let out of prison over an issue like this, and especially when it's something that I have no control over. I mean I'm pretty desperate, I want this individual to get the justice that he deserves,” said Thorp.
As for Billy’s mother, she is heartbroken all over again.
“I’m so angry about this—I’m hurt. I feel like the justice system that I'm telling my children to obey, to respect, you know, to be here to defend if they have to. I feel like it has led us down, my tribe, I feel like my tribe’s let me down. I don't have nobody to turn to if I needed help," said Chuculate-Sequichie.
Even if Roth get’s out of prison Chuculate-Sequichie said she hopes that her son’s case sparks a conversation about justice in the wake of the McGirt Supreme Court ruling.
She hopes something is done to fix it and that no family has to suffer this kind of injustice.