Tyler Alred, 17, has been sentenced to 10 years of probation with requirements that include attending church services on a regular basis. Alred was drinking when he crashed his pickup truck at 4 a.m. on December 3, 2011, according to the Tulsa World. Alred’s friend, 16-year-old John Luke Dum was killed in the crash. Alred was convicted of manslaughter.
Alred was not drunk when the accident occurred but since he was under the legal age to consume alcohol, he was considered to be driving under the influence. Alred pled guilty back in August to a charge of manslaughter as a youthful offender.
“I did not want to do what I did,” Alred told the court before he was sentenced. “I want to change my life.”
According to the Muskogee Phoenix, relatives of Dum did not want to see Alred sit behind bars in prison. “We don’t need to see two lives wasted for a mistake,” Dum’s sister, Caitlin, wrote in a statement.
Judge Mike Norman sentenced Alred to a 10-year deferred sentence instead of sending Alred to prison. Alred is required to graduate from high school; take drug, nicotine and alcohol tests for one year; graduate from welding school; wear a drug and alcohol bracelet; attend church for the next 10 years and take part in victim’s impact panels if he wishes to stay out of prison.
The requirement of attending church for 10 years “raises legal issues because of (the separation of) church and state,” according to University of Oklahoma law professor Randall Coyne when speaking to the Tulsa World.
Gary Allison, a law professor at the University of Tulsa, told KTUL that the requirement of going to church “speaks to maybe forcing people to do religious activities that they would otherwise not do on their own free will … I don’t know why a church would want to have someone come to it under the force of government.”
Donn Baker, the attorney for Alred, said, “My client goes to church every Sunday. That isn’t going to be a problem for him.”