Lawton_The trial of Ricky Ray Malone - accused of the First Degree Murder of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Nikky Green - will be returning to Lawton. Over the holiday weekend, The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals shocked many when they threw out the death sentence of Malone. He was convicted of killing Trooper Green the day after Christmas 2003 and the Appellate Court says District Attorney Robert Schulte's closing remarks during the trial were inappropriate and unfair to the defendant.
Now, according to Schulte, they'll have to retry the sentencing phase of the trial. The guilty verdict still stands, but the jury needs to hear all of the testimony and evidence to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
Schulte says it wasn't anything that he said that got the sentencing, it was the crime. "In my mind, the comments of the prosecutor, the widow Linda Green asking for the death penalty, is not what got this man the death penalty," he said. "The act itself - a trooper, face down on the ground, praying, shot in the back of the head - shot in the back of the head twice - the second shot 11 seconds apart," is what contributed to Malone's fate. He says the punishment did - and will - fit the crime.
"Clearly this is a violent individual and that's why he received the death penalty here in Comanche County and I foresee that will be the case once again," Schulte said. He says the new trial won't affect the success of the case. "I do not. I think this case was decided on the evidence. The evidence in this case was overwhelming. Rarely do you have on film the perpetrator at the scene of the crime. Rarely do you have where he talks to four people afterwards and admits his involvement," said Schulte.
But, he doesn't like having to relive this case. It will be difficult to contact the victims and their families who thought they had left this all behind them. To let them know that we've got to go through a whole other trial. We've got a mother out there that lost her only son, a sister that lost her only sibling, three young kids that no longer has a father, a young widow - all those people are adversely affected by these decisions," he said.