Family, prosecutor fighting parole recommendation on Dedra Wilhite

BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: February 22, 2009 at 1:10 am •  Published: February 22, 2009
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p/> Wilhite's confession was thrown out after a judge ruled she had not been notified of her rights. The decision forced prosecutors to offer Wilhite a deal that spared her a life sentence, Lister said.

Wilhite has earned her GED and completed some vocational courses while in prison, according to a parole board investigator's report. She has had 18 misconduct reports, including two for drug possession, but none since 2005.

Wilhite, now 30, has served less than half of her 35-year term, which Lister insists is not enough.

Since 1999, violent offenders like Wilhite have been required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.

The governor's staff is reviewing Wilhite's case, which was delivered to Henry's office in January, a spokesman said.

Henry reviewed 135 cases in January and granted parole for 101 inmates, according to the state Corrections Department.

Lister, who now has handled about 60 murder cases, hopes the governor decides to keep Wilhite in prison.

“This was a premeditated act that should make normal, civilized people take note,” Lister wrote. “Oklahoma citizens with disabilities should and will be outraged if a cold-blooded killer like Dedra Wilhite only has to serve 14 years for such a heinous, senseless crime.”

Contributing: Julie Bisbee, Capitol Bureau

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