Ex-Judge On Trial For Antlers Boy's Death - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Ex-Judge On Trial For Antlers Boy's Death


ANTLERS, OK -- A former judge is on trial for an accident that killed a 6-year-old who was riding a bicycle, and he is acting as his own attorney.

In court on Tuesday, former Pushmataha County associate district judge Doyle Blythe, 75, began defending himself against a charge that could send him to prison for several years.

Life changed for both Blythe and the family of Antlers Elementary School student Riley Harralson when Blythe's car collided with the bike driven by Harralson on High Street in 2010, killing Harralson.

"There's a lot of times I think about him, I miss him," says grandmother Twyla Derby.

Blythe, who was driving with a suspended license and now faces a manslaughter charge, says Riley used to bike through his nearby driveway.

"I just remember it being a really really tough thing for the town to handle because he was a child, a small child," says neighbor Dana Boling.

"I think if they send him to jail, it's a life sentence no matter what it is, because he's 75 years old," says Blythe's assistant Clifford Brehmer.

In court, Blythe seemed eager to begin arguing his case. Prosecutor Danita Williams objected three times at the end of jury selection that he was improperly starting his argument, and judge Charles Migliorino sustained the objections.

"We are here because this defendant chose to drive without a license, chose to get into his car, and drive down high street," said Williams.  "Had this defendant not ignored the law, little Riley Harralson would not have run into the defendant's vehicle on his bicycle."

"I didn't collide with Riley, Riley collided with me," said Blythe. "If you're going to find me guilty, find me guilty of what I am guilty of, driving without a license."

"Had I had a driver's license, would Riley be alive?" Blythe asked during his argument. "No."

"He forgot to pay a ticket, the accident happened, he had already paid it, he just hadn't driven to McAlester and reinstate it," says Brehmer.

"He's an ex-judge, he knows the laws, he broke the laws," says Harralson's grandfather Bill Derby.

Almost three years later, family members say they want justice and closure. "We took him fishing, camping, we take him out to the land, he run with us, he was very outspoken. He loved to spend time with his Mimi," says Twyla Derby.

Blythe was a judge from 1995 to 2002, when a judicial council removed him after he was accused of improper "euthanasia hearings" at a hospital and campaigning for office from the bench. If convicted in this case, he could face four years to life in prison.