MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 24, 2012

Alred pleads guilty in crash

Teen charged with manslaughter in death of friend

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A teenager charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of a friend in a drinking and driving crash could receive anywhere from four years to life in prison.

Tyler Alred, 17, entered a blind plea of guilty Friday morning in the death of John Luke Dum, 16.

Dum was ejected from a pickup in which Alred was driving early in the morning of Dec. 3 a few miles east of Muskogee.

Alred tested positive for alcohol after two breathalyzer tests shortly after the crash, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

Friday’s hearing began with Alred and his parents talking quietly with Attorney Donn Baker as the Muskogee County courtroom filled with friends and family of both teens.

District Court Judge Mike Norman asked Alred several questions before accepting his blind plea.

By entering a blind plea, Alred acknowledged he will accept whatever sentence the court decides, and no plea bargain was reached.

Alred folded his hands together in front of himself, looked down and answered the judge quietly each time he responded to a question.

After the hearing concluded, Alred hugged friends and family in the hall before leaving the courthouse.

He and his parents declined to comment. Dum’s parents, James and Mary Ellen Dum, did not return calls seeking comment Friday. Alred’s attorney also did not return calls Friday.

Alred, free on $25,000 bond since March, faces sentencing Nov. 13. Age 16 on the day of the crash, he was charged as a youthful offender.

As a youthful offender, sentencing can range from rehabilitation with the Oklahoma Juvenile Authority to a full adult sentence in prison.

A pre-sentence report will be done before Alred’s sentence is determined by Norman. The report will look at all aspects of Alred’s life up to and after the crash that took Dum’s life, and consider his future.

He could receive from four years to life in prison if sentenced as an adult.

A youthful offender sentence could mean up to 10 years, beginning with placement in the custody or under the supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

First-degree manslaughter falls under Oklahoma’s 85 percent statute, which means if convicted, a person has to serve 85 percent of their sentence before they may be considered for parole.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton

@muskogeephoenix.com.