TULSA, Okla. – A former Oklahoma deputy who was sentenced to serve four years in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed suspect was released from prison early.
Robert Bates, now 76, was a reserve officer with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office when he killed Eric Harris, 44, on April 2, 2015.
An undercover officer tried to purchase an illegal weapon in a sting operation, but Harris bolted and was tackled by other officers and taken to the ground.
Bates, who was providing backup, shot Harris in the back with his pistol but said he meant to use his Taser stun gun.
“Oh! I shot him! I’m sorry!” Bates said, as captured in a video of the shooting.
On April 27, 2016, a jury found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison.
Now, after serving 1 and 1/2 years of his sentence, Bates is free from prison.
According to the Tulsa World, the former reserve deputy gained early release after earning enough credits to cut 2 and 1/2 years off his four-year sentence for manslaughter.
According to the Department of Corrections, offenders incarcerated in state custody can accumulate credits toward an early release through good behavior and participation in certain programs.
He will be under post-imprisonment supervision for the next nine months.