OKLAHOMA CITY – The wife of a former Oklahoma prison warden was sentenced Monday to a year in prison for helping a convicted killer escape from the Oklahoma State Reformatory 17 years ago, a prosecutor said.
Bobbi Parker, 49, could have been sentenced to up to 10 years behind bars after a jury found her guilty in September of helping convicted murderer Randolph Franklin Dial escape from the correctional facility in Granite in 1994.
Jurors recommended a one-year sentence, and that's what Greer County District Judge Richard Darby gave her, Assistant District Attorney David Thomas said by phone from the courthouse in Mangum, 120 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Parker is appealing her conviction, and Darby ordered her to remain in Department of Corrections' custody pending the outcome. The judge gave Parker credit for time she has served since her conviction Sept. 21, which state prison officials will consider when calculating when Parker may be eligible for early release.
"We're happy with the judge's assessment of the penalty," said Thomas, who added that prosecutors are also pleased the judge denied defense attorney Garvin Isaacs' request to allow Parker to remain free during her appeal.
"We believe, based on the conduct that the jury found her guilty of, that she was a flight risk," Thomas said.
Isaacs said he plans to appeal for Parker's release on bail so that she can return home to her husband, Randy Parker, who has stuck by her.
Prosecutors say Parker helped Dial escape after falling in love with him while they worked together in a pottery program operated out of her home, which was on the prison grounds because her husband was deputy warden. Witnesses testified that they saw Parker and Dial, who was serving a life sentence for a 2001 slaying in Tulsa County, behave inappropriately at the home.
Acting on a tip, authorities found the pair living together as man and wife in a cramped mobile home on a chicken ranch in Campti, Texas, in April 2005.
Parker and Dial, before he died in prison in 2007, claimed that he drugged her and abducted her at knifepoint, and that he kept her from seeking help or fleeing by threatening to use alleged mob connections to harm her family.
Prosecutors alleged that Dial and Parker made a pact that if either was discovered, he would say he kidnapped her and held her hostage.
Isaacs, Parker's attorney, said her family was grateful to the many Greer County residents who were affected the lengthy trial, which began in May and included testimony from more than 80 witnesses.
Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said Parker will initially be confined at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McCloud, the central processing site for female inmates. Afterward, she will likely be assigned to a community corrections center somewhere in the state, Massie said.
Randy Parker has worked for the Department of Corrections for 27 years, and is currently its security and facility operations manager.