Convicted Killer Sentenced to Church Instead of Prison

Say What!? 18

crossSo much for do the crime, pay the time. A teenager in Oklahoma, who was convicted of manslaughter after getting in an accident that killed his friend, was sentenced to attend church instead of prison.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Alred, who had a blood alcohol level slightly below the legal limit that night, must go to church services regularly for the next 10 years to avoid getting locked up for the crash that killed passenger John Luke Dum. So much for the separation of church and state.

It's an unusual sentence, to be sure. He must also graduate from high school and welding school and wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his alcohol use. Is it just me or does this not actually seem so bad? I mean, is this even a sentence? Of course there are plenty of people who would balk at being made to go to a religious service, but it sure sounds a heck of a lot better than prison.

Is this an acceptable punishment for such reckless behavior? I don't always feel that locking someone up is the answer, but this certainly doesn't seem like a particular hardship for a kid who wrapped his pickup around a tree. "My client goes to church every Sunday. That isn't going to be a problem for him. We certainly want the probation for him," his attorney said. No kidding. Who wouldn't want it. But again, is this fair to his victim or the victim's family, no doubt still reeling from the crash?

I imagine the judge is trying to save who he likely deems a decent kid from total ruin. Prison, of course, is a horrible place, but it's supposed to be. That is what makes it a deterrent. Going to church is a walk in the park in comparison. Why not make him work with at-risk kids or spend time helping victims hurt in drunk driving accidents too. Not that I don't think religion is a good thing. I do. I think it's important. I just don't think it should be used as a get out of jail free card. I wonder if Luke's family feels this is justice. I know I sure don't.

Do you think this sentence was fair? Is it wrong for a court to impose religion on someone?


Image via Jeremy Vandel/Flickr



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nhamp... nhampton401

Having him go to church and get his life on the right track is not such a bad thing. Notice he has to graduate and pretty much make something of himself. He could spin this experience around and end up working with troubled kids, or creating programs for young kids to keep them away from parties. God does AMAZING things, this kid could turn into the most amazing youth pastor this country has ever seen. God bless all those involved.

Samantha Wortham

This is horrible! So if this guy was an atheist he would just go to prison? That is rediculous.

candy... candyw210

I don't think It's a bad sentence at all. The judge is making sure he makes something of his life. And before you start passing judgement; stop and think maybe the victims family asked for this to happen to him. A lot of times; and I have been through it; they will consult the family of the victim as to what they want to see happen to the other person. So for all we know the victims family could have requested it. And it's not like he won't be monitored and doesn't have to do anything else. I think its a fitting punishment. I am sure the guilt of what he has done is punishment as well

MamaH... MamaHasWings

To quote the article: "Relatives of the victim supported the sentence." While the article does not say, it is quite possible the parents of the victim felt sympathy for the accused and asked the judge for lienency. It does happen occasionally and I have a feeling it happened in this case. Perhaps the victim's parents are religious and find comfort that this boy will become closer to God as repentance for his mistake. It is an unusual sentence but I think it will have a positive outcome.

amazz... amazzonia

What? What what what???? I hope this is a joke....oh my god, I can't believe it! I got away from Italy because I thought there was way to much curch involved in the politics scene, but this is getting redicoulus, the USA especially southern states are becoming more and more like the al Qaeda Christian version, is really really scary 

nonmember avatar Christie

This is a bunch of crap! You mean to tell me that this kid took someone's life and they are just sending him to church. UGH, What happened to separation of Church and State, kids cannot pray in school, people cannot pray before meetings, but we can SENTENCE someone to church!!! This is such bullsh*t I cannot believe that this happened. If I was a citizen in that area and involved in local business I would be making a huge fuss over this. This idiot judge has now put other people's lives at risk by letting this kid live a semi-normal life after taking another life with drunk driving. Does this judge really think that this kid will think twice about drinking and driving again (after the ankle monitor is gone) after only getting a slap on the wrist? If this kid kills or hurts someone else by drinking and driving I think the judge should be liable as well as the kid and his family.

Megan Lee

Really?  People think that just because he sits through an hour or two of mass every week he'll miraculously be a better, more enlightened person?  No he'll just have a very boring Sunday.  Sounds like a pretty effed up kind of way to "punish" a conviced killer to me.

nonmember avatar anon

While the sentence in general isn't a horrible one, it does NOT fit the crime. He's 17 years old, and was likely charged as an adult. Not only was he driving drunk underage, he was responsible for someone's death. Since when is the consequence for vehicular manslaughter church and school?

Procr... Procrastamom

I thought the US did not condone torture?

Maevelyn Maevelyn

i would imagine that there is more to it than the judge saying "Hey, you'd suffer way more in church" I'd like to knwo more about how the sentence came about. I'd rather go to church than jail. 

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