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(This story has been updated to include a response from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.)
An Oklahoma City marijuana grower charged with murder dodged jail time and is serving 10 years of probation.
LaRue Bratcher negotiated an Alford Plea in February, meaning he accepted – but did not plead guilty to – the charge of manslaughter by resisting criminal attempt, according to Oklahoma City TV station KOCO.
The defense attorney in Bratcher’s case, Clay Curtis, explained to KOCO that the “charge says you unnecessarily killed someone while they were committing a crime against you.”
Bratcher, who is Black, was charged with first-degree murder in 2020 after allegedly shooting and killing Daniel Hardwick, a white man who Bratcher said was trying to break into his cannabis cultivation facility.
Authorities claimed the state’s self-defense laws didn’t protect Bratcher because his cannabis license had expired in 2019 and he was operating illegally.
Bratcher’s second-degree murder charge was dismissed and four other charges were suspended as part of the deal, according to Oklahoma TV station KOKH.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Bratcher was charged with:
- Unlawful cultivation of a controlled dangerous substance.
- Possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
- Possession of a weapon while committing a felony.
“Mr. Bratcher is a lucky man,” Curtis said after the case was concluded, according to KOKH.
“He has a family who loves him, a wife who loves him, kids who love him, and he now knows he can be with his family and he doesn’t have to worry that that won’t be the case.”
Curtis told MJBizDaily he was not authorized to speak on Bratcher’s behalf.
The attorney said he would inform Bratcher about MJBizDaily‘s request for comment, but Bratcher has not responded.
After a query from MJBizDaily about Bratcher’s license status, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) responded with a link to its cannabis license database.
Bratcher is not listed as a licensee.