Tyler Alred, 17, was convicted of manslaughter when he drank alcohol, got behind the wheel of a car and killed his friend. But a judge has decided to order him to attend church services instead of sentencing him to prison.
Alred was sentenced in Muskogee, Okla., by Judge Mike Norman, who suggested that he be required to attend mandatory church services for 10 years. Last December, the 17-year-old high school student crashed into a tree when his friend and passenger John Luke Dum was killed on the scene, according to Tulsa World reports.
The defendant admitted to authorities that he consumed alcohol, yet he passed a breath test with scores of 0.06 and 0.07. Although the legal blood-alcohol level is 0.08, Alred was still charged with a DUI since he decided to drive after drinking under the legal age of 21.
While Alred was charged as a youthful offender and pleaded guilty in August, the Muskogee County district judge decided to sentence him to attend church, which is not the first time the sentence has been granted, according to Tulsa World. The publication reported that the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office would be responsible for monitoring the young man's church attendance.
Alred's lawyer said fulfilling the sentence granted by the judge would be no problem for his client.
"My client goes to church every Sunday," defense attorney Donn Baker said in Tulsa World reports. "That isn't going to be a problem for him. We certainly want the probation for him."
According to Baker, the family of the victim may be on the path to forgiving his client, which was evident when the defendant "started crying, and (Dum's) father got up and went over to him and they hugged, and both of them cried wrenching tears for several minutes."
Baker told Tulsa World that Alred was deeply apologetic to Dum's family.
"He understands the gravity and the hurt and wishes he could take it back. This is something he'll have to live with the rest of his life," Baker said. "He told (Dum's) family (that) every day and every hour he regretted his decision to drink and drive."