405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

"Communication Failure" Set Eufaula Bank Robber Free

29-Jan-2016

In only a few seconds, a man walked into a Eufaula bank, shot and killed the bank president, shot a teller, and took a customer hostage in an attempt to rob the bank. By the time the dramatic scene reached its conclusion in a deadly shootout with law enforcement, Cedric Lamont Norris was dead, and his hostage was seriously injured.

The killing of the bank president and the injuries of two innocent women seem senseless enough, but compounding the futility of it all was the discovery that Norris, who was released from a Texas prison in 2012, should have been behind bars in Oklahoma, serving a 60 year sentence for multiple criminal conviction.

In fact, it was not the first time Norris was mistakenly released from prison. In 2007, he was released from a Texas prison on parole. In both the 2007 and 2012 releases, the man should have been transferred immediately to an Oklahoma prison to serve the remainder of his 60 year term.
So how does this happen? How does a man who should be spending decades behind bars get mistakenly released not once, but twice? 

Neither Texas nor Oklahoma authorities could pinpoint where or how the communication breakdown occurred--why Texas officials did not know that Norris needed to be transferred to Oklahoma nor why Oklahoma officials were not monitoring his status in Texas.

A timeline published in the Tulsa World shows a number of "red flags" or times during the justice system's involvement with Norris and his prolific criminal history that should have prevented the mishaps that let him out of custody. In fact, when Norris was paroled in Texas in 2007, he not only had a sentence awaiting him in Oklahoma, he had a current indictment for robber in Texas itself. It seems unthinkable that an inmate with pending criminal charges could be paroled.

It is troubling that neither Texas nor Oklahoma officials can pinpoint the exact breakdown. One jurisdiction says the transfer papers were mailed. Another says they were not in Norris's file. But Norris was free, and he was checking in with his parole officer in Texas--as recently as one week before the Eufaula bank robbery and murder. Officials say that Norris's case was "once in a lifetime," and that he was able to slip through the cracks because he was sentenced in so many jurisdictions. But shouldn't that kind of criminal record mean someone is keeping a close eye on the inmate? 

According to Creek County District Attorney Max Cook, "I do not know whose fault it is--if it’s the fault of a person or a system--but  we’ll deal with it, and we’ll make it better should we be faced with this again."

It is hard to have confidence in a system's ability to find a solution to a problem, when it can't even find the problem's source.



All News

More News

Tulsa Tire Store Employee Accused of Sexually Assaulting Customer
17-Jul-2017

An employee of a Tulsa tire store has been arrested on a sexual ba..

Man Sentenced in Shooting of Valley Brook Police Officer
14-Jul-2017

An Oklahoma City man who shot a Valley Brook police officer on New..

No Restrictions on Oklahoma Sex Offender Moving Next Door to Victim
10-Jul-2017

Oklahoma places a lot of residency restrictions on convicted sex o..

Norman Father Arrested in Daughter's Shooting Death
07-Jul-2017

Just before dawn on June 29, a Norman man called 9-1-1 to report t..

Man's Child Abuse Charge Upgraded to Murder
03-Jul-2017

An Oklahoma City man charged with child abuse after his infant nep..

Garvin County Man Sentenced for Sexually Abusing Neighbor
30-Jun-2017

A man convicted in February of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old ne..

Oklahoma Man Accused of Attempting to Kill Cousin, Then Hiring an Escort
26-Jun-2017

An Oklahoma man who allegedly tried to kill his cousin in an arson..

Supreme Court Ruling Says Trademark Law Barring Offensive Names Infringes on Free Speech
23-Jun-2017

You have likely never heard of Asian American rock band the Slants..

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter
19-Jun-2017

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own..

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrantless Cell Phone Location Search Violates Fourth Amendment
12-Jun-2017

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that cou..

×