TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - After four hours of testimony, former Tulsa County reserve deputy Robert Bates was sentenced to four years behind bars Tuesday.
Bates was convicted in April of second-degree manslaughter for the 2015 shooting death of Eric Harris, a suspect in an undercover sting. Since the shooting, Bates has maintained he meant to grab his Taser but accidentally grabbed his gun.
The jury recommended the maximum four-year sentence for Bates, whose attorneys sought a delay in sentencing with plans to file a motion for a new trial. Last week, defense attorney Clark Brewster filed a motion saying he has yet to receive a trial transcript, which he needs to request a new trial.
Judge William Musseman denied the motion for an extension to file for a new trial.
Since Bates' conviction, the judge received several letters from the community asking for leniency for Bates. Two letters were written by the former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz and his wife, Deborah Glanz.
The former sheriff said Bates' intentions were honorable.
"I do not believe him to be a threat or a danger to anyone and should not be placed in an overcrowded state prison system," writes Stanley Glanz. "This is a terrible injustice for a man that made a terrible mistake in a split second."
Another letter addressed to Musseman comes from one of the jurors at Bates' trial. He said he's been troubled by the verdict and regrets "that I gave in," reads the letter. The juror asked the judge to sentence Bates to probation.
Bates' physician also wrote that he is "deeply troubled by the deterioration in (Bates') health status since his jail confinement." J. Frederick McNeer, MD, said he was concerned with Bates' age and jail staff's limitations of managing his health issues, which put him at "high risk for death and major complications."
The district attorney's office says it's unlikely Bates will serve the full four years, but the Oklahoma Department of Corrections will make that decision.
Brewster says he'll appeal his client's sentence and he remains concerned with Bates' health care while behind bars.