A former Tulsa police officer convicted of armed robbery in 2013 may have his 35-year prison sentence reduced.
Former District Judge Tom Gillert sentenced Marvin Blades Jr. to 35 years in prison and 35 years of probation after Blades was found guilty of robbing five Latinos he stopped while on duty.
Blades was caught after he took $600 from an undercover officer posing as an immigrant who didn’t speak English.
None of the robberies involved the use of Blades’ gun, but since he had his service weapon with him, his crimes were deemed worthy of armed robbery charges.
At an Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board meeting Tuesday, Blades’ lawyer said Judge Gillert regretted the sentence he imposed on Blades. Gillert submitted a note to the board saying as much.
“I think the one thing that’s significant for me is you don't find a judge too often who will come back and say I was wrong,” said parole board member Scott Williams.
Gillert, who was himself a pardon and parole board member from 2015 to 2019, said to Blades' lawyer he changed his mind after encountering a similar case to Blades’.
In 2011, a Tahlequah police officer who also stole from people who didn’t have licenses or citizenship documents was found guilty of larceny and given a suspended sentence.
The parole board voted unanimously to commute Blades’ sentence to ten years. He’s served eight years so far, most of it out of state in Ellsworth, Kansas.
Parole board member Kelly Doyle said she voted to commute because she found the sentence draconian, especially since Blades was a law enforcement officer who would have to be sequestered from other inmates.
“I lived in Tulsa when this crime occurred and remember being very upset that a person in uniform would steal from an individual that they were there to protect. However, when the sentence came down, I was truly shocked. I would say having solitary and other factors that make his incarceration a bit more complicated and a bit more difficult, I would agree to commuting to ten years.”
Governor Kevin Stitt has the final say on the commutation and there is no timeline for his response.